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U.S. Travel is on the Rebound

  • Air Travel
  • Natasha Young
  • 5 minutes

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The global pandemic almost declared doomsday and got #new_normal trending. Some made coffee and baked bread; some upskilled themselves, while some took a chill pill. Gratefully, it’s 2023 now, and the menace of a virus is not impending like it used to be. As the world recovers and restrictions ease, experts predict a significant rebound in travel globally. And that said, US leisure travel is also expected to rebound strongly post-pandemic this year. 

Current travel landscape statistics: An overview 

The US Travel Association[1] predicts that, for the first time since the COVID-19 epidemic, overall domestic trips in 2023 will exceed that of 2019. Around 2.38 billion domestic travel is on the table for the US in 2023, an increase of 70 million over 2019. This number is expected to include 440 million business trips and 1.94 billion vacation travels. 


Source: Statista[3]


While domestic leisure travel increased by 30 million in 2022 compared to 2019, the delayed recovery of corporate travel kept the annual total from rising above 2.25 billion. Predictions indicate that in 2024, the number of domestic business trips will exceed that of 2019, reaching 470 million, while the number of domestic leisure trips will top 2 billion. 

What are international visitors spending in the US? 

Spending on foreign travel is expected to recover strongly after the COVID-19 epidemic. The US Travel Association predicts it will hit 141 billion US dollars in 2023. And travelers prefer online platforms to book and plan their trips. According to research by Oxford Economics[2], more than twice as many international tourists used online platforms even in 2019. 


Source: Statista[4]


However, in 2020 and 2021, overseas tourists still favored using online booking platforms. Booking.com and similar services have gained widespread popularity among foreign travelers because of their convenience and the fact that they are available in languages other than English. 

What is fueling the rebound of leisure travel in the US? 

Even though the travel sector is having a slow recovery post-pandemic, it still holds a glimmer of hope. And here are some factors that are contributing to the expected resurgence of leisure travel in the US: 

A significant drop in the infected rates: With an increasing number of people vaccinated, the risk of contracting and spreading the virus is significantly reduced. As a result, travelers feel more confident about venturing out and exploring new destinations. 

Ruled out travel restrictions: Governments are gradually easing travel restrictions and reopening their borders. This allows travelers to plan trips without the uncertainty and limitations they faced during the height of the pandemic. 

Possible redemption for travel bugs: After months of lockdowns and restrictions, people long for new experiences and a change of scenery. The desire to create lasting memories through travel is stronger than ever, fueling the demand for leisure trips. 



Influence of social media: The post-pandemic travel landscape is witnessing the emergence of new trends and preferences among travelers. Domestic travel has surged, with people exploring lesser-known destinations and hidden gems previously overshadowed by popular tourist hotspots. When it gets shared on social media, it ignites many travel enthusiasts to explore those gems of places. 

Global shift on physical and mental well-being: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of nature and outdoor activities for physical and psychological well-being. Travelers are seeking destinations that offer opportunities for hiking, camping, beach outings, and wellness retreats that promote relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Sustainable travels: The pandemic has raised awareness about the impact of travel on the planet and local communities. Travelers increasingly opt for sustainable and responsible tourism practices, such as supporting eco-friendly accommodations, participating in community-based tourism initiatives, and respecting local cultures and ecosystems. 

What is the future of leisure travel in the US? 

There will possibly be significant shifts in store for leisure travels in the US post-pandemic era, like: 

More integration of technology: Technology will play an essential role in enabling contactless experiences, such as touchless check-ins and digital health passports. The use of self-service kiosks, mobile apps, and other forms of technology to improve the travel experience is expected to show up.  

More emphasis on eco-friendly vacations: The trend toward eco-friendly and sustainable vacationing has got uphill. Businesses will emphasize green traveling, responsible tourism, and community outreach to develop a more sustainable and inclusive travel sector.  

Taking account of shifting consumer expectations and preferences: To tend to the customer’s needs, the travel industry must adjust to their evolving tastes and standards. When planning a trip, customers typically look for accommodations that meet their needs concerning convenience, cleanliness, security, and reputation. 

US leisure travel | Save with Way

Bottom line 

As the travel industry starts to return, the leisure travel market in the United States is set to make a big comeback. With the way things are now, travelers clearly desire to reconnect with the rest of the world and go on a discovery trip within their own country.  At this point, all have an exciting chance to plan their next adventure. And such travel can pull up the economy as well. So, what’s stopping you? Pack your bags and set out for an experience!  


[1] U.S. Travel Association. “The Latest Travel Data,” n.d. https://www.ustravel.org/research/monthly-travel-data-report.

[2] “The Economic Impact of Online Travel Agencies in North America.” Oxford Economics. USA, October 27, 2022. https://resources.oxfordeconomics.com/hubfs/The-Economic-Impact-of-Online-Travel-Agencies-in-North-America-2019-2021.pdf?utm_source=Recent-release&utm_medium=Website&utm_campaign=Online-travel.

[3] Liu, Shanhong. “Infographic: A Recovery Curve for International Visitor Spending in the US.” Statista Infographics, May 10, 2023. https://www.statista.com/chart/29951/us-international-visitor-spending-recovers.

[4] Liu, Shanhong. “Infographic: US Leisure Travel Expected to Rebound Strongly Post-Pandemic.” Statista Infographics, May 19, 2023. https://www.statista.com/chart/30034/us-leisure-travel-to-rebound-strongly-post-pandemic.


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