Are we still holidaying in the USA?

By | Category: Travel destinations

The weakness of the pound in the last couple of years against the US dollar, the euro and other currencies might be considered by some as a reason for not holidaying in certain countries.

San Francisco’s celebrated Golden Gate Bridge

It might help to explain the resurgence of Turkey, Egypt and, towards the end of 2018, Tunisia. It may explain why fewer of us are travelling to the USA.

Nonetheless, figures from the San Francisco Travel Association seem to suggest that the UK is holding its position as the third largest source country of international arrivals despite visitor numbers being less than you might expect given that before the Brexit vote the pound was worth about $1.55 and now is about $1.32. A decline of 15% would surely hit the pockets of holidaymakers?

According to statistics from California, there was a decline of 19.3% last year in British holidaymakers going to the state. Yet in March last year (Easter was in March) arrivals were up by 22%?  Although the national travel and Tourism Office of the US government is yet to publish full year figures for tourism, in the first four months of 2018, British visitor numbers were up 1.6%. Can we understand what is going on?

The problem is the way figures are constructed. California (and most states) measure international arrivals by whether they fly into California. If they go to a neighbouring state and drive across the state border they can’t count you. Equally if you take US statistics they know from where you have come but don’t really know what you did between the time you arrived and the time you left

According to the association, San Francisco welcomed 2.9 million international visitors in 2018, very similar to the number in 2017 but this is based on passengers landing at San Francisco International Airport. The top five markets for visitor volume in 2018 were Mexico, China, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. In 2016, UK visitors were also in third place. But if I flew to Los Angeles and caught the train or drove to San Francisco the city wouldn’t be any wiser unless it did surveys and aggregated the data.

It looks as though San Francisco is seeing fewer British holidaymakers but that may not be the case for the USA as a whole.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , ,