In 2018, the United States kept its status as the world’s largest Travel and Tourism economy. This industry brought in $1,595 billion, making up 7.8% of the country’s GDP and experiencing a 2.2% growth over last year. These numbers were impressive, considering the significant drop in travelers from China, which was flat compared to the 23% average growth rate that the U.S. saw in these travelers over the past decade. Although the number of Chinese travelers was lower than usual, the 4% of travelers that were Chinese made up for 11% of all traveler spending within the U.S. It is expected that this drop is a result of the international trade tension between the two countries.
Although the U.S. does not appear to be in any danger of a declining Travel and Tourism economy, World Travel & Tourism Council President Gloria Guevara encourages U.S. policymakers to focus on preserving Brand USA, expanding and rebranding the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, modernizing airports and infrastructures and implanting biometric passenger identification. Because this economy creates 15.6 million jobs and brings in close to $198.8 billion each year, preserving it is crucial to the U.S. (World Travel & Tourism Council, 02.27.19)