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Brand USA held a webinar on its most recent research showing international travel and consumer sentiment and provided partners with an update on how other countries around the world view travel to the United States.

Overall, the outlook is positive with the intent to travel to the U.S. not declining as much as people’s intent to travel internationally overall.


During the webinar, Julie Heizer, deputy director of the National Travel & Tourism Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce, reported that domestic travel is recovering first and that vaccines are the key to safely reopening. She also noted that cases of COVID-19 are still declining.

“This does not mean that things are in the black. Far from it. But at least the trend lines are pointing north in a positive direction,” Heizer said.

For the travel industry, the needle is moving in the right direction. Brand USA recently hosted a webinar on travel and consumer sentiment that showed that the current state of the recovery is full of positive indicators.

Domestic travel has been tracking up since March, and the number of passengers going through TSA checkpoints is also up.

Hotel room demand is up and travel spending is rising.

There are other signs that travel is moving in the right direction toward recovery. Travel-related leisure and hospitality employment increased by nearly 1 million during February, March and April to reach 14.1 million.

However, there are still some downsides. Employment in the sector is still much lower than pre-COVID-19 levels, and international travel remains deeply depressed.

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With international travel still on hold, Brand USA looked at the intent to travel internationally and for those outside the U.S., the intent to travel to the U.S.

Brand USA research showed that some markets are more risk-tolerant than others when it comes to traveling internationally. In many countries, the intent to travel internationally has held steady or grown recently.

Residents in countries such as Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Mexico and South Korea are showing an increased interest in recent months to travel internationally and places like the U.K., Brazil and Japan see interest in International travel holding steady while interest in traveling abroad is declining in Australia.

Brand USA found that the intent to travel internationally has not yet rebounded to 2019 levels but that younger generations are leading the way with the strongest desire to travel internationally at the moment.

Men are also more inclined to travel abroad while women remain more cautious. Interestingly, families with children showed a stronger intent to travel abroad in the next 12 months in all of the countries Brand USA targeted in its research, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the U.K.

There is a positive outlook for travel during the holidays. Travelers in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, India and Mexico all showed a strong desire to take an International trip. A desire to travel to the U.S. also saw an uptick in Canada, Japan, Mexico, India and South Korea.

The likelihood to travel to the U.S. was coming close to 2019 levels in all the countries included in the analysis but for Australia and China. While age and gender didn’t differ much when it came to the desire to travel to the U.S., families with children were less likely to travel to the U.S. When it comes to holiday travel, there was strong interest in a trip to the U.S. in Mexico, Brazil, India, Korea and Japan.

COVID-19 still remains the dominant reason for not traveling, Brand USA finds. Travel restrictions related to the virus were the major concern, however, many were also concerned about contracting the virus and the availability of activities/experiences during their trip. The research also found that some travelers were not traveling because they were concerned about finances. For example, in Canada, 29 percent said that they couldn’t afford a trip this year.

As the U.S. reopens and international travel grows, Brand USA emphasized its commitment to helping its partners with ongoing guidance, insights and strategies. The organization is prioritizing countries with the most interest in travel to the U.S. and is committed to creating opportunities for partners to take advantage of the momentum in the countries where people are ready to travel soon.

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