September Leisure Travel Remained Strong Despite Hurricanes

by Richard D'Ambrosio
September Leisure Travel Remained Strong Despite Hurricanes

A crowded Haneda Airport Terminal 2. Photo: Derek Yamashita/Shutterstock.com


Domestic leisure travel continued to lead travel bookings in the U.S. in September, despite three major, destructive hurricanes that tore through U.S. states and territories, according to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).

While overall travel volume growth slowed to 0.7 percent in September versus 1.9 percent in August, the USTA’s latest Travel Trends Index (TTI) shows that domestic U.S. leisure travel grew 1.4 percent. That growth was, however, slower than the 2.4 percent achieved in August 2017, versus the same month in August 2016.

“Domestic leisure travel outperformed other travel segments in September, as it has consistently throughout 2017, despite the hurricanes that impacted the southeast portions of the country. Continued growth in coming months is a good omen for overall consumer spending as the economy nears the end of the year,” said David Huether, USTA's senior vice president, research.

Domestic business travel declined about 1 percent in September compared to the same month last year, “likely due to a calendar shift in Jewish holidays and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” which impacted major destinations in Florida and Texas, USTA said.

The USTA believes that the results from September are a good barometer for the next three to six months. Domestic U.S. leisure travel is expected to increase 2.2 percent through March 2018.

Travel industry has been resilient
"Both the domestic and international travel markets are showing remarkable resilience in the face of some significant headwinds," said USTA President and CEO Roger Dow. "Pretty much every challenge you can imagine — both natural and man-made — has been thrown at travel this year, and yet this industry continues to do far more than its share for export and domestic job growth.

"It doesn't take much for the travel industry to achieve a favorable return on investment — America just needs to compete for market share by facilitating safe, legitimate travel and increasing connectivity by upholding Open Skies and modernizing our airports."

Dow continued: "We continue to urge the Trump administration to make clear that new security measures are squarely aimed at bad actors, while legitimate business and leisure travelers are as welcome as ever in the United States."

The TTI is prepared for the USTA by the research firm, Oxford Economics. The TTI is based on public and private sector source data which are subject to revision by the source agency. The TTI draws from: advance search and bookings data from ADARA and nSight; airline bookings data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC); IATA, OAG and other tabulations of international inbound travel to the U.S.; and hotel room demand data from STR.

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