National travel indicators present a troubling picture in the short term for New York State seasonal tourism spending.
Estimated spending statistics from U.S. Travel's Recovery and Growth Insights Dashboard sourced to Tourism Economics portray a significant decline in YOY growth nationally beginning in February of 2023. with New York State travel spending actually registering double digit YOY declines in April and May, when statewide travel spending dipped below 2019 levels.
The detailed chart of month-by-month spending illustrates an abrupt trend change in New York travel spending that began in January of 2023, with YOY travel spending dropping each month. The most recently released figures for May of 2023 indicate a YOY decline of 15.5%. The $7.46B estimated travel spend in May 2023 is also down 3.6% from May of 2019.
Other U.S. Travel industry statistics on the New York State dashboard were more encouraging, with YOY NYS air passenger traffic up 3.8% vs +10.0% nationally (Airline Data, Inc/TSA); NYS hotel demand up .8% vs +.1% nationally (STR) and L&H employment up 8.1% vs +5.7% nationally (BLS).
The data depicting declines being provided on the U.S. Travel dashboard is validated to some degree by Destinations Analysts' June 2023 The State of the American Traveler research briefing. Based on data collected May 17-21, 2023, the research findings depict a consumer market balancing a desire to travel with economic uncertainty in the near term:
- Consumers are more likely to say they are 'worse off' financially (34.5%) than 'better off' (29.5%) vs a year ago.
- When thinking of household finances, consumers were more likely to say 'NOW is a bad time to spend money on leisure travel' (37.1%) than to say 'NOW is a good time' (27.5%).
- 58.8% of consumers expect the United States to enter an economic recession in the NEXT SIX MONTHS, the highest proportion since September of 2022.
- 62.6% report being cautious with their money due to recessionary concerns, 46.7% report that high prices kept them from traveling in the past month and 32.9% report canceling an upcoming trip due to the inflation in consumer prices.
Balancing these near-term concerns, the Destination Analysts' finding registered very encouraging traveler sentiment for the future:
- Traveler expectations for their financial prospects one year from now were positive - 49.7% expect to be better off, only 14.0% expect to be worse off.
- 87.9% report being excited about leisure travel in the next twelve months - 47.7% report being VERY excited. (This is the highest ranking level reported since January 2021!)
I'd be very interested to know what you are experiencing in your destination or attraction. If you have any recent visitor attendance/spending/occupancy statistics or anecdotal insights, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bob Provost
President & CEO
New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA)