Washington, DC – A 2013 travel forecast just released by the U.S. Travel Association suggested cautious optimism for the overall travel industry despite uncertain business confidence and sluggish GDP growth of just 2% this year. USTA senior vice president of economics and research David Huether said that international inbound travel is expected to increase by 4% in 2013, while domestic leisure and business travel are expected to grow at a less robust pace of around 1%.
The number of overall domestic trips taken in 2012 is expected to read 2.04 billion, a 1.8% overall increase from the prior year. Leisure trips grew at a 4.5% clip, while business trips grew by just 1.3% this year. Still, 2012 will be the third consecutive year of business trip growth, Huether said.
Huether expressed confidence that business travel will trend upward. “Businesses continue to have a heightened focus on the value and bottom-line benefits of travel,” Huether said. “The (expected) slight increase in business travel next year will continue to reflect demand for face-to-face meetings that drive growth and productivity,” he added.
Visitor spending also is expected to increase. International visitors are expected to spend 7.1% more next year, while domestic travelers are expected to increase spending by 3%.
Higher Job-Recovery Statistics for Travel Industry
The travel industry’s star is brightest on the job front. Huether said the overall travel industry has outperformed the general economy in job creation, regaining 59% of the jobs previously lost to the recession compared to a 51% job recovery in the economy as a whole. Roughly 6,000 travel-related jobs were added in October alone, according to a U.S. Labor Department report on November 2. The Labor Department data indicates that 296,000 jobs overall were added by the travel industry since December 2009—and they came at a 16% faster pace than those in other sectors of the economy.
Based on the projected growth in leisure, business and international inbound travel, the USTA expects the travel industry will add roughly another 100,000 American jobs by the end of 2013. The gains will bring direct travel industry employment to more than 7.6 million jobs.
“The travel industry is twice as export-intensive as the rest of the economy and supports millions of middle-class jobs that cannot be outsourced,” Huether said. “These unique qualities have made the travel industry a top performer in the current recovery,” he added.
Reach David Huether at (202) 408-2190 or firstname.lastname@example.org