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The downward trend may reverse in the near future, however, according to the most recent projections from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office.
International arrivals are expected to reach more than 80.6 million in 2020 up 2 percent. That follows a decline of 1 percent in 2019, to 79.1 million. Growth in arrivals is expected through 2024, when they are forecast to reach 90.8 million.
Among the reasons cited by a report from the U.S. Travel Association for the dip in tourism this year were ongoing trade uncertainties, which potentially had dampening effects on consumer spending and business investment. And visitors from China are expected to decline 5 percent this year amid an ongoing trade war. Beijing issued a travel warning for the U.S. in June, alleging visitors could be subject to harassment by U.S. law enforcement.
Tourism is critical to the U.S. economy. The U.S. travel and tourism industry generated over $1.6 trillion in 2017, and supported 7.8 million jobs, according to SelectUSA, a Commerce Department program. And international visitors spent more than $251 billion in 2017, which led to a $77 billion trade surplus that year, according to SelectUSA.
The highest number of overall travelers are expected from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. India, France and Columbia are expected to have the largest increase in travelers to the United States by percentage. The number of travelers coming to the U.S. from India is expected to be more than 1.5 million people which would be an increase of 7 percent. And 1.9 million people are expected to come from France, which would be an increase of 4 percent. The number of visitors coming from Columbia is also expected to increase by 4 percent to more than 1 million visitors.
Among the countries where there is likely to be a decline in U.S. visitors are Sweden (down 1 percent), Venezuela (down 6 percent) and Argentina (down 8 percent).
It was not immediately clear why tourism was expected to increase in 2020.
Among the reasons cited by a report from the travel association in August for the dip this year were ongoing trade uncertainties, which potentially had dampening effects on consumer spending and business investment.
Visitors from China are expected to decline 5 percent this year amid an ongoing trade war. Beijing issued a travel warning for the U.S. in June, alleging visitors could be subject to harassment by U.S. law enforcement.