Growth in international travel to the U.S. is expected to continue through 2011, reaching as high as 61 million visitors, an increase of nearly 20%.
This sounds like good news for the hospitality industry. However, it may also challenge event and meeting planners because increased travel -- whether leisure or business -- may result in increased competition to secure limited space available at some top tier hotels, resorts and venues. Therefore, it is important for event planners to plan early and sharpen hotel negotiating strategies.
Of course, there's also a significant amount of outbound travel from the U.S. In 2006, the U.S. Commerce Department tracked nearly 40 million U.S. citizen air traffic passengers to overseas regions, Canada and Mexico. An informal review of published data to date reflects an increase of 1.3% during the first seven months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006.
This is good news for the hospitality industries in regions with higher concentrations of travelers originating from the U.S.: Europe, Caribbean, Asia, South America and Central America. Of course, event planners in those regions are also conscious of the impact on limited high end conference and hotel spaces.