Despite a slump in international tourism to the U.S. in the last two years, the U.S. Department of Commerce on Friday released a report forecasting an 18.5 percent growth in international visitation through 2022.
A chart from the department’s National Travel and Tourism Office forecasts growth every year through 2022, with projections up from last year’s 75.1 million international visitors to 78 million this year, 80.9 million next year, 83.4 million in 2020, 86.2 million in 2021 and 89 million in 2022.
The chart shows international visitation to the U.S. grew steadily every year from 2009 to 2015, when arrivals numbered 77.5 million. But there was a drop in 2016 to 75.9 million, followed by a drop in 2017 to 75.1 million, though the report said last year’s number is still being finalized and could change.
The department said the forecast is based on economic, demographic and social factors, historical visitation trends and other sources.
The U.S. travel industry this month launched an effort called the Visit U.S. Coalition to try to reverse the current slump in visitation.
“This latest report aligns with the trend that we were already seeing, which shows that the U.S. is not as competitive today as it was two years ago in the global travel marketplace and we are losing market share to other countries,” said Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, which spearheaded the Visit U.S. Coalition.
The coalition expressed concerns at its launching that policies and anti-foreigner rhetoric from President Donald Trump’s administration were dampening America’s appeal as a travel destination.
Dow added that the Visit U.S. Coalition “looks forward to working with the Trump administration to address this problem, which has considerable ramifications for the broader U.S. economy.”
Trump, a Republican, has made cracking down on immigration a centerpiece of his presidency and has promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep immigrants and drugs out. He has said his policies are meant to keep the U.S. safe.