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U.S. Tourism & Travel Statistics 2023

 

The Ultimate Fact Guide to America's Tourism Industry Including Outbound, Inbound, Domestic & Business Travel Figures.

 

The American tourism industry is slowly recovering from the pandemic which hit in 2020. In May 2023 travel spending was on par with April 2022 levels, air travel remained strong with a 10% increase however overseas arrivals to the U.S. were still 27% below 2019. The U.S. had the biggest tourism revenue loss at $147.22 billion over the first 10 months of 2020, however things are improving with international visitors spending $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities - an increase of nearly 105% compared to May 2021. In addition to this the outbound tourism market is improving and valued at $101,697 in 2022.

 

Concerns regarding travel are declining, with just 25% saying COVID-19 is a barrier to travel – down from 50% last year. However, 61% of Americans say they are only taking domestic trips within the U.S. this year and most will drive to their destination.

TOP U.S. TOURISM STATISTICS:

 

The U.S. had the biggest tourism revenue loss in the first 10 months of 2020 due to the pandemic at $147.2 billion.

The travel industry losses were said to have far exceeded that of any other sector - approx 9 times the impact of 9/11.

US air passenger volume plummeted by more than 90% in March 2020.

The U.S. outbound tourism market was valued at US $101,697 million in 2022.

Revenue in the Travel & Tourism market is projected to reach $190.40 billion in 2023.

Inbound visitors spent $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities in the U.S. - up 105% compared to May 2021.

International travel spending in the U.S. is predicted to reach $198 billion in 2025.

81% of adults 50+ who plan to travel in 2023 believe it’s safe to travel now (up from 77% in 2021).

AARP reports 61% of Americans say they are only taking domestic trips within the U.S., and most will drive to their destination.

25% say COVID-19 is a barrier to travel, compared to about 50% who felt that way last year.

On average American adults plan to spend $6,688 in 2023 on travel.

International arrivals totalled 22.1 million, up 15% from 2020 (19.2 million) and -72% from 2019 (79.4 million).

A third of travel jobs were lost when the pandemic hit in 2020. 

Outbound tourists in 2020 from the U.S. fell to 33.5 million, a third of the 2019 figure. 

 

POST COVID-19 U.S. TRAVEL TRENDS

How has COVID-19 impacted Americans' travel trends?

Revenue in the Travel & Tourism market is projected to reach $190.40 billion in 2023.

Inbound visitors spent $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities in the U.S. - up 105% compared to May 2021.

The U.S had the biggest tourism revenue loss in after the pandemic at $147.2 billion.

The travel industry losses were said to have far exceeded that of any other sector - approx 9 times the impact of 9/11.

COVID-19 caused global intent to book an international flight to stall between 15% and 17% of consumers from April 2020 to March 2021.

It quickly improved to 23% by June 2021 as vaccine distribution was rolled out.

On average American adults plan to spend $6,688 in 2023 on travel.

81% of adults 50-plus who plan to travel in 2023 believe it’s safe to travel now (up from 77% in 2021).

25% say COVID-19 is a barrier to travel, compared to about 50% who felt that way last year.

International arrivals totalled 22.1 million, up 15% from 2020 (19.2 million) and -72% from 2019 (79.4 million).

A third of travel jobs were lost when the pandemic hit in 2020. 

In 2020, Travel & Tourism jobs within the U.S. declined 33.2% to 11.1 million (7.5% of total U.S. employment)

As of February 2023, 5.97 million people were employed in the U.S. tourism industry.

Due to COVID-19 outbound tourists in 2020 from the U.S. fell to 33.5 million, a third of the 2019 figure. 

New York attracted 5.42 million foreign visitors in 2020, it’s the most popular city destination in the U.S.

Domestic and international travellers spent over $680 Billion in 2020.

$642.2 billion by domestic travellers & $38.1 billion by international travellers.

In 2021, the U.S. hotel and motel market size was valued at $171.1 billion.

Price anxiety is up - Travellers are checking prices an average of 16 times prior to booking - up 33% over pre-pandemic 2019 norms.

60% of people are more flexible about when and where they travel.

International arrivals in the U.S. declined to 29 million in 2021 - a 36% decrease from 2019. 

One-third of people have travelled or expect to travel for work in 2023.

77% of them plan to tack personal vacation time onto those trips.

The National Travel and Tourism Strategy aims to welcome 90 million international visitors annually by 2027.

International travel spending in the U.S. is predicted to reach $198 billion in 2025.

64% of experts at The World Tourism Organization expect the travel industry to make a full recovery by 2024. 

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, the U.S. Travel & Tourism sector suffered a loss of $766 billion and lost 33.2% of its employees. The impact changed some aspects of the travel industry for good.

 

Travel & tourism has since started to recover with the market revenue reaching $1.2 trillion in 2022. Japan is the most searched for international destination, and Michigan is the most searched for domestic destination in 2022.

 

The travel industry is expected to make a full recovery by 2024 with international travel spending estimated to reach $198 billion in 2025. 

 

Sources: Ibis WorldStatistaFuture Marketing InsightsITAAARPForbesUS TravelDream Big Travel Far, WTTC, FTF, Ibis World

US INBOUND & OUTBOUND TOURISM STATISTICS

How many Americans travel out of their country a year?

Outbound tourists in 2020 from the U.S. fell to 33.5 million due to the pandemic, a third of the 2019 figure. 

Outbound travel from the U.S. totaled 80.8 million in 2022, down 19% from its pre-pandemic volume.

Top 5 outbound by continent 2022: Europe (15.8m), Caribbean (9.2m), Asia (2.6m), South America (2.5m), Central America (3.7m).

The US outbound tourism market was valued at US $101,697 million in 2022.

It's projected to reach $217.70 billion by 2027.

61% of Americans say they are only taking domestic trips within the U.S. in 2023 and most will drive to their destination.

The most searched for international destination for flights in 2022 for US travellers was Japan.

Michigan was the most searched for domestic destination for flights in 2022 for US travellers.

Inbound visitors spent $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities in the U.S. - up 105% compared to May 2021.

International arrivals totalled 51 million in 2022, 64% of its 2019 volume.

Top inbound countries: The UK was at the top with 3.5 million, followed by Germany at 1.5 million and France at 1.3 million.

In 2022, New York was the largest point of entry at 4.5 million, Miami at second with 3.8 million, followed by Los Angeles at 2 million.

Outbound tourists from the U.S. fell to 33.5 million due to the pandemic, however, is slowly recovering with the number of Americans travelling outside of the U.S. now at 80.8 million, just 19% below pre-pandemic levels. 

 

61% of Americans are still choosing to travel domestically, driving and taking road trips as their preferred method of transport. This is partly due to the increase in the cost of living and COVID-19 concerns. 

 

The US inbound tourism statistics also paint a fascinating picture of America’s continued recovery, with visitors flocking from the UK, Germany, and France. International visitors totaled 51 Million in 2022, 64% of its pre-pandemic levels. The top US vacation destinations being cities such as New York, Miami & LA.

AMERICAS TOURISM INDUSTRY SPEND STATISTICS

How much did Americans and Tourists spend on travel last year?

Domestic and international travellers spent over $680 billion in 2020.

$642.2 billion by domestic travellers & $38.1 billion by international travellers.

On average American adults plan to spend $6,688 in 2023 on travel.

Direct spending on travel in the U.S. reached $1.2 trillion in 2022.

The domestic leisure segment generated $837 billion in 2022.

Domestic business travel generated $234 billion, which is a 74% recovery compared to pre-pandemic levels.

In 2022 Americans spent an average of $729.86 each on flights.

Inbound visitors spent $12.6 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities in the U.S. - up 105% compared to May 2021.

International travel spending in the U.S. is predicted to reach $198 billion in 2025.

10% of Americans are planning to spend $10,000 or more on travel.

17% will spend between $5,000 and $10,000.

35% will spend at least $1,500 more.

That equates to 62% of Americans who will be spending more, despite inflation in 2023.

79% said inflation has affected their travel planning for the year—a 22% increase over September 2022.

Due to inflation, overall travel spending in the U.S. is still 14% lower than pre-pandemic rates.

New York brings in $16.1 Billion a year from international visitors.

Spending on travel is recovering since 2020 but is not above pre-pandemic levels yet. In 2020 domestic and international travellers spent $680 billion on travel in the U.S. and by 2022 direct spending on travel in the U.S. had reached $1.2 trillion. A strong demand for domestic travel has helped the travel industry bounce back nicely, with the domestic leisure segment generating $837 billion in 2022. International inbound travel is at a 55% recovery rate compared to pre-COVID-19 rates at just $116 billion.

 

Where Americans are spending on travel, budget concerns due to rising inflation costs are impacting how much they spend. 79% said inflation has affected their travel planning for the year—a 22% increase over September 2022. On average American adults’ plan to spend $6,688 in 2023 on travel. The reality is that when you adjust for inflation, overall travel spending in the U.S. is still 14% lower then pre-pandemic rates.

US TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY JOB STATISTICS

How much is the travel industry worth to America?

The number of people employed in the Tourism industry in the US declined -0.3% on average over the five years between 2018 and 2023.

In 2019, 334 million people worked in the travel sector — an all-time high, it said. But 70 million jobs were lost in 2020.

The industry has started to recover with 11 million jobs in 2021 and 21.6 million in 2022. 

U.S. Travel & Tourism sector suffered loss of $766 billion in 2020.

The country’s domestic travel spending saw a decrease of 37.1%. 

International visitor spending dropped by 76.7% in 2020 – decreasing from $181.2 billion in 2019, to just $42.2 billion in 2020. 

According to Statista, the travel and tourism sector in the U.S. could reach more than $190 billion in 2023 alone, highlighting an annual growth rate of more than 3%.

As of October 2021, there were 300,000 fewer workers in the hotel industry than two years prior.

As of March 2023, the total contribution of travel & tourism to GDP from North America was up 18% ($363.4 bn) vs. 2022.

Direct spending on travel in the U.S. reached $1.2 trillion in 2022.

The tourism industry is vital to the US economy and the pandemic hit the tourism industry the hardest with the sector suffering a loss of $766 billion and 70 million jobs in 2020. COVID-19 and the border restrictions it brought lowered cross-border travel to a near standstill.

 

Employment is recovering steadily and now employs around 21.6 million people in 2022.  As leisure demand continues its trajectory toward pre-pandemic levels, hotels, and airlines have a challenge to hire back staff who were furloughed. Pilot and Technician Outlook voices concern that many furloughed airline workers may have left the industry.

 

The travel market size, measured by revenue, of the Tourism industry was $1.2tr in 2022. As of March 2023, the total contribution of travel & tourism to GDP from North America was up 18% ($363.4 bn) vs. 2022. 

 

US TRAVEL STATISTICS BY DEMOGRAPHIC

Which American age groups travel the most?

Millennials are the most likely to go big on their next trip (80% compared to 56% of travelers over 50)

Gen Zers plan to spend more money on travel plans than any other generation in 2022, with 72% of them saying that they are planning on spending the same, or more than they did before Covid-19. 

Compares with 70% of Millennials, 67% of Gen X and 61% of Baby Boomers.

Millennials are planning to take the most trips of any generation: an average of 4.4 trips in the next 12 months.

Millennials are the most likely to stay at a hotel in the next 3 months at 39%, followed by boomers (28%), Gen X (23%) and Gen Z (9%).

Millennials are the most likely to stay in a vacation rental at 46%, followed by Gen X (17%), boomers (16%) and Gen Z (21%).

81% of US Millennials took their last vacation in the US, with family travel one of the most popular getaway types.

Just 11% of Boomers traveled more during the pandemic, compared with 26% of Gen Zers and 25% of Millennials.

Just 27% of Baby Boomers report that COVID-19 may keep them from traveling in 2022.

82% of Baby Boomers planned to take between 1 to 5 trips for fun in 2022.

27% of boomers say that COVID-19 fears would scare them away from traveling for leisure in 2022.

70% of American Millennial and Gen Z travelers report seeking out experiences that their family and friends have not heard of.

Gen Z travels an average of 29 days per year.

When analyzing the latest US outbound travel statistics by age, travelers of all demographics are more comfortable traveling now than they were during the height of the Coronavirus outbreak, with high-income earners and previous travelers reporting feeling the most comfortable.

 

Millennials are still the demographic travelling the most, choosing to visit family, something that was very restricted during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 

27% of Boomers are still concerned with COVID-19 and it would deter them from travelling in 2022.

 

Sources: Forbes, The Vacationer, Roller, Press Reader, Travel Perk

REASONS AMERICANS TRAVEL FACTS & STATISTICS

Why do Americans travel?

70% of American Millennial and Gen Z travelers report seeking out experiences that their family and friends have not heard of.

63% of American travelers age 50-plus still embrace the idea of taking a “bucket list trip” — for many (39%) even more so than prior to the pandemic.

Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z are planning revenge travel—travel to make up for time lost—after the pandemic

81% of US Millennials took their last vacation in the US, with family travel one of the most popular getaway types.

84% of Millennial respondents want to travel somewhere they can immerse themselves in local culture, according to a survey from American Express Travel.

56% of Gen Z said they'd want to stay in green or eco-friendly accommodations.

60% of Gen Z are looking for more environmentally friendly transportation once they arrive. 

48% of Millennials say that having a unique experience is a must-have compared with 38% of Gen Zers.

Unlike Millennials who are open to mixing business and pleasure, Gen Z is more interested in keeping work far away from their vacation.

29% of baby boomers say that the best part about travelling is relaxation.

Time spent with family and friends is the best part for 23% of boomers.

Business/Leisure: U.S. travellers took 466.2 million domestic trips for business (26.2%), and 1,779.7 million for leisure (73.8%).

Why do Americans travel? 

 

The pandemic has had a huge impact on why Americans choose to travel. Millennials tend to prioritise seeing family, something which was prevented during COVID-19. Gen Z however, are taking revenge trips and making up for lost time by ensuring they enjoy experiences they missed out on during that time. 

 

Gen Z travellers also want to experience unique trips which are unheard of, and also prioritise green or eco-friendly accommodation. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. 

 

People are gravitating towards more adventurous experiences than they might have done pre-pandemic, possibly because our relationship with life in some ways has changed. Life’s so short and the pandemic allowed us to appreciate that now more than ever before.

 

The most important reasons why Americans travel were:

 

  • To make up for lost time
  • To see friends and family
  • Unique experiences which are unheard of
  • Relaxing and unwinding - particularly for Baby Boomers

 

In terms of gender-based travel reasons, men indexed higher than women overall for exploring the great outdoors or outdoor activities that fall into that category. Generation Z, Millennials, or general age groups from 18-35 had higher responses around wanting to travel for music events or festivals than people aged 35 and over.

 

Generation Z should be a big consideration for the tourism industry as they move towards becoming a key market segment.

 

They are actively redefining what it means to travel, and embracing their unique needs is essential to understanding the future of the tourism and travel industry.

 

Sources: Travel Perk, Hotel Mize

US TOURISM & TRAVEL ACTIVITY STATISTICS

What are the popular trending activities in America?

Top 5 culture activities: #1) 65% visit history/art museums, #2) 59% visit aquariums, #3) 56% visit science museums, #4) 55% visit theme parks, #5) 55% visit zoos

73% of families take their children to a theme park, 34% aim for a world famous one.

Overseas visitors top 5 activities: #1) 54% Shopping, #2) 49% visit historical/cultural sights, #3) 49% Restaurants, #4) 46% Monuments / National Parks, #5) 46% Sightseeing tours.

Trending: 89% increase in sunset cruise excursions trips since last year.

Trending: 64% increase in snorkelling activities since last year.

Trending: 55% increase in sailing trips since last year.

Trending: 49% increase in kayaking and canoeing experiences since last year.

33% of visitors will get spa or beauty treatments while on vacation.

15% of travellers book mindfulness or meditation retreats.

One of the reasons Americans do not travel abroad that much is that there is so much to offer in their own country. There is a wealth of cultural activities such as art galleries, museums that index high on the popular activities list, not to mention the volume of theme parks, zoos, and aquariums across the country.

 

Families want to book all-inclusive trips where everything is taken care of, and they can focus on shopping or taking their children sightseeing. An overwhelming volume of people wanted to book a cruise in the future, which pairs well with relaxing is one of the most popular reasons for travel data above. Cruises were particularly popular in respondents over the age of 45, as well as self-guided tours, whereas group tours were one of the least popular options for booking.

 

Even though sporting related activities are trending up, going to a physical sporting event was one of the least popular reasons Americans book travel, with most wanting to support their team… from home.

 

Sources: MMGY, NYU, StatisticBrain, TripAdvisor, Booking.com

US TOURISM BOOKING STATISTICS

How do Americans book their travel?

61% planning to map out travel ahead of time in the hope of securing a better deal.

In particular, Gen X (60%) and baby boomers (54%) are most likely to start their travel searches earlier.

2023 will see 53% of millennials planning more last-minute trips.

55% of Americans will consider off-season destinations to make their money stretch further.

68% of all sales in travel & tourism are made online in 2022 vs, 57% in 2019.

Booking.com was the most globally visited travel and tourism website in May 2022, when it received 564 million visits.

In 2022, Booking.com was the online travel agency with the highest revenue at $17 billion up from $6.8 billion in 2020.

Tripadvisor.com ranked number 1 and is the most visited Travel and Tourism website in the U.S. in May 2023.

39% of users would download an app over using the mobile website because of the speed.

30% enjoy the increased functionality of a mobile app.

The factors expected to boost travel intent in the next 12 months include:

  • Mobile apps offering on-trip alerts (44%)
  • Self-service check-in (41%)
  • Contactless payments (41%)
  • Flexible cancellations (40%)

According To Statista, Online Sales Will Generate 73% of revenue in the travel & tourism sector by 2026.

The online travel market worldwide was worth $432 billion in 2021.

86% of travelers consult online travel sources, including destination review sites (73%), sites that offer package deals (39%), and social media (36%).

63% of US respondents book directly with airlines, 62% directly with hotels, and 47% book with OTAs.

31% of travelers planning a vacation will book six (or more) months in advance.

26% plan to book three to six months out.

50% of people taking a rescheduled trip (re)booked it six months in advance—or more.

Two out of three travelers use OTAs to plan or research their trips.

OTAs enjoyed a nice recovery in 2021, with bookings nearly doubling compared to 2020.

83% of travelers do their research on a mobile device before finalising their travel plans.

As more and more people reconnect with travel after the pandemic, OTAs are still the preferred way to book for more Americans. The online travel market worldwide was worth $432 billion in 2021. Some of the biggest reasons why people prefer OTAs are the security, convenience, loyalty discounts, and credible online reviews.

 

Prior to booking, 83% of travelers do their research on a mobile device before finalising their travel plans. 86% of travelers consult online travel sources before booking, including destination review sites like Tripadvisor, sites that offer package deals, and social media. Travellers want genuine and real reviews prior to booking. 

 

Mobile apps are also becoming more important to some travellers with 39% of them downloading an app rather than using a mobile website because of speed and 30% also enjoy the increased functionality a mobile app can offer. 

 

Direct hotel bookings are becoming increasingly popular; according to Phocuswright by 2023, direct hotel bookings are expected to surpass OTA bookings. This is due to three factors:

 

  • “Book direct” campaigns
  • Loyalty members’ increasing app use for convenience and deals
  • Traveler preference for direct contact with hotels

 

Websites and mobile apps need to ensure they provide users with seamless and easy browsing and booking functionality along with being quick. To compete with direct hotel websites, they should ensure they incorporate incentives and deals to attract users to book.

 

Sources: TravelPerk, Xola, Statista, TripIT, SimilarWeb