New research from WTM reveals that most major travel markets in the Americas have recovered from the pandemic, apart from the US which is due to get back to 2019 levels next year.
The WTM Global Travel Report, in association with Tourism Economics, is published to mark the opening of this year’s WTM London, the world’s most influential travel and tourism event.
For the current year, the Americas as a whole falls short of 2019 in both volumes and value. The region is expected to welcome 117m inbound leisure visitors, 4% down on 2019’s number. In dollar terms the shortfall is negligible, only 2% shy of pre-pandemic earnings.
When looking at the region country-by-country, it emerges that the other major markets have had a very strong year. The US is by far the biggest market in the Americas, and saw a 17% drop in the value of its inbound leisure market. In contrast, number two Mexico was 128% ahead of 2019 with Canada up by 107%.
However, the US domestic market has performed strongly and is in positive territory, with 2023’s domestic spend tipped to come in at 130% of 2019. All of the major domestic markets are ahead. Mexico is 144% ahead and Brazil, the third largest domestic market, is 118%.
Venezuela is the eighth biggest domestic market in the region. It is predicted to reach levels 325% higher than 2019, the second highest percentage increase of any market registered in the report.
Overall, domestic tourism in the Americas for 2023 will be 31% ahead of 2019 by value.
The immediate future is looking positive, with the report confirming that the US will catch up with pre-pandemic levels in the next year. The findings show that 2024 will end with the US inbound in positive territory, 8% ahead of 2019. Domestically, the US will continue to grow, with the value of domestic tourism tipped to come in at around $1000 billion dollars.
Further out, the report looks forward to 2033 and says that the US inbound leisure market will remain the second largest in the world and be worth 82% more than 2024. This is among the strongest growth of the ten largest inbound markets, with only China (158%), Thailand (178%) and India (133%) registering a bigger increase. The US will also outperform its regional rivals, with Mexico looking at an 80% increase in inbound spend over the next decade; Canada is in line for a 71% jump.
Over the same period, outbound leisure travel from US is expected to grow in value by more than one-third (35%) in value, although this is the lowest of the ten countries analysed for this part of the report.
Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director, World Travel Market London, said: “The strong showing for this year’s domestic market across the region aligns with what we’re seeing elsewhere – the substitution effect which came into play when international travel was restricted is still relevant, with many more people choosing to explore what is on offer within their own borders.
“US inbound is taking longer to get back to pre-pandemic volumes, but 2024 will see the turnaround completed. WTM London has a positive and long-standing relationship with the US market and the team are proud to be a contributing factor to its recovery.