Domestic business travel spending is expected to reach 76% of 2019 levels in 2022, while the segment is not expected to fully recover until 2024, according to the biannual forecast from the U.S. Travel Association. The forecast, based on analysis from Tourism Economics, projects that domestic leisure travel will continue to drive the US travel industry’s recovery in the near term. This segment is projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and beyond. International inbound travel spending is projected to reach 72% of 2019 levels in 2022. That segment is not expected to fully recover until 2024 or 2025. Roger Dow, CEO of U.S. Travel, said that while there is much reason for optimism on the horizon, the forecast reveals that travel’s recovery “is uneven with much work ahead to ensure all segments reach pre-pandemic levels.” He said the US can implement smart, effective policies that bring back international visitors more quickly and “spur business and professional travel to accelerate an economic and jobs rebound.”  Among the recommended policies were:

  • Fully reopen and resume visitor visa processing at U.S embassies and consulates
  • Ensure Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration officers are adequately resourced
  • Pass the Restoring Brand USA Act to provide emergency relief funding to Brand USA, the United States’ destination marketing organization
  • Enact temporary tax credits to restore demand for in-person professional meetings and events
“Stabilizing policies can help ensure a more even recovery as we aim to restore the US as the top destination in the world for global travelers,” Dow said.