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ForwardKeys: Trade War Tensions and Kilauea Trim Tourism from Asia to the U.S

The number of tourists arriving in the United States from the Asia Pacific region fell by 3.2%* last year, according to latest findings from ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million flight booking transactions a day. 

The Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii (a top destination for Japanese travellers to the US) contributed to a drop in US-bound tourism in the second half of 2018. In addition, the number of Chinese visitors to the US during the year remained flat (0.0% growth) amid the ongoing trade war between the two countries. Asia Pacific represents a 20% market share of US inbound travel.

On the plus-side, the ForwardKeys figures show a 3.2% increase in European visitors to the US compared with 2017, representing a 38% market share. But German tourists stayed away, down 8.7% on 2017.

Overall, total international tourist arrivals in the US in 2018 showed very modest growth, up 1.0% on the previous year.

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The European nations leading the tourism growth are Ireland, up 14.1%, Spain, up 11.8%, and Italy, up 10.5%. Elsewhere, Brazil, up 12.8%, and Colombia, up 10.3%, helped account for a 1.3% growth from The Americas.

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New York City consolidated its position as the top US destination for international travellers, up 2.1%. The Northeast as whole grew by 2.8%. Fort Lauderdale, in the South, and Detroit, in the Midwest, were the fastest-growing destinations, up 12.8% and 12.5% respectively.

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Olivier Jager, CEO, ForwardKeys, commented: “Once again, international air travel is at the mercy of world events, natural disasters and man-made disputes. Understanding fluctuations in tourism is vital intelligence for business and government alike; and ForwardKeys is committed to delivering them the most insightful data, as swiftly as possible, to aid their decision-making.”

(*ForwardKeys’ analysis is based on stays lasting between 1 and 21 nights.) 

ForwardKeys analyses more than 17m flight booking transactions a day, drawing data from all the major global air reservation systems and selected airlines and tour operators.  This information is enhanced with further independent data sets, including flight searchand official government statistics, plus data science to paint a picture of who is travelling where and when. ForwardKeys’ analytics are used by travel marketers, retailers, hotels, destination marketing organisations (DMOs), financial institutions, car rental companies, tour operators, online travel agents (OTAs) and other traveller-focussed businesses worldwide to monitor and anticipate traveller arrivals from a particular origin market at a specific time.  This analysis enables parties to anticipate the impact of events, better manage their staffing levels, fine tune supply requirements, adjust and measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and anticipate future market trends. 

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