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Interest in traveling to the U.S. is down for most of the country’s top inbound markets, according to the latest research update from Brand USA, the destination marketing organization (DMO) responsible for marketing the U.S. to international visitors.
Concern about the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is a primary factor in international consumers’ decision-making. As of press time, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are continuing to rise; in fact, there is a higher number of people getting infected or confirmed as being infected compared to a month ago, said Carroll Rheem, vice president of research and analytics for Brand USA.
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This has resulted in a year-over-year dip regarding the likelihood to travel to the U.S. across almost all of Brand USA’s primary inbound markets, which include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the U.K.
The steepest drop in interest is with the Chinese market, which reports an 18% year-over-year decrease in intent to travel here over the next 12 months. Most other markets range between a 2-8% decline.
Japan is the sole exception, showing a 3% increase in likelihood to travel to the U.S. over the next 12 months.
“I want to caution any optimism around this,” Rheem said. “The Japanese have a specific travel pattern as it relates to the U.S., and a lot of this is likely concentrated around the Pacific Islands such as Hawaii and Guam, which are really familiar with the Japanese.”
This provides a “pocket of opportunity” for inbound travel from Japan, says Rheem, noting that “geography dictates a certain routes and destinations where there is that familiarity, and it’s those trips that are likely to come back first.”
Geography dictates a certain routes and destinations where there is that familiarity, and it’s those trips that are likely to come back first.
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The data presented also measures where the U.S. stands when competing with other destinations for long-haul visitors. Due to elevated levels of anxiety surrounding the pandemic and the country’s rising case count, Rheem says it is unsurprising to see that the U.S. is losing — or is expected to lose — some of its market share.
China, Mexico and Canada are among those with the heaviest drop in likelihood to travel to the U.S. in the next 12 months, with Mexico-based consumers lowering their intent to visit the U.S. by 6%. Surprisingly, though, Mexico’s intent either remains the same or increases for all other competitive markets, with the highest interest in traveling to Spain and Canada, which shows a 4% increase in interest.
“This [data] is in its very early stages, but it helps give us a picture of the competitive dynamic, what people are thinking and how they are reacting to what’s going on with the disease and the information that they’re seeing in the headlines every day,” Rheem said. “For us in the U.S., it’s going to be very challenging in the near-term.”
The DetailsBrand USAwww.thebrandusa.com