American tourists from Europe up by 5% in 2018, report says

Growth in US visitors from European countries, meanwhile, has hit a two-year low

Tourism to the US from the UK and a number of European countries, including France, Germany and Switzerland, has rebounded this year after two years of declines, according to travel data firm, ForwardKeys.

But US-based companies have been told to expect a strong fall in traffic on the 6 October, when they are required to cancel reservations and book new trips well in advance of the new start date.

The ForwardKeys forecast says the impact of the US travel alert and travel ban were a “minor” factor in the drop in US tourism from Europe.

The data also suggests that “a strong showing of US-based companies who cancel reservations shortly before departure” could see an “acceleration of bookings from the past few months”.

British holidaymakers were hit by a reduction in arrivals in July 2016 and from June 2017 to March of this year.

However, bookings from European countries are still expected to exceed those from the UK for the remainder of this year, largely as a result of “historical levels of bookings made prior to the 9 June announcement”, according to ForwardKeys.

This contrasts with July 2017, when the US travel alert was originally extended because of the threat of an attack at a wedding in Las Vegas, making it the first occasion a national alert had been extended outside an official terrorist threat.

Overall, ForwardKeys said the total number of US travel reservations was “broadly flat” compared with the previous quarter and the same period last year, while European traffic from the US had risen 2.8% in the first four months of the year, but was down 1.7% since the beginning of 2017.

The largest drop was in booking levels from the Netherlands.

The figures could come as a blow to Washington, which last month urged the US air-service industry to boost passenger numbers through targeted marketing.

According to ForwardKeys, US traffic to Europe has peaked on 24 June, the day President Donald Trump delivered a Twitter attack on Londoners after an attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.

The level of air-travel demand on that day “contrasted with the previous two-year-high demand peak of 25 July 2016,” according to ForwardKeys.

This illustrates the lasting impact of the new US travel ban, which has stopped access to Qatar, the UAE, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iran, effectively excluding the majority of the countries covered in Trump’s first travel ban.

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