Americans are traveling more. This is, intrinsically, a good thing (except for the environment). Not only does travel expand the mind and make us more empathetic and happy humans, it also makes the economy go round and round. The U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office and U.S. Department of Commerce released their travel assessment for 2016 and found that travel by Americans was up across the board.
One of the biggest increases in the industry was in long-haul travel. Europe and South America both saw an eight percent increase in American visitors. But the biggest winners were Asia with an eleven percent increase and Oceania with a 13 percent increase in American tourists. With that last one, it’s not hard to see why — the Pacific is full of island paradises after all.
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There are a lot of contributing factors at play here. Both the British Pound and the EU’s Euro exchange rates have tipped in favor of the US Dollar since Brexit happened. The UK was the beneficiary of $4.4 billion from US tourists alone — a six percent increase. All of that’s compounded by the proliferation of long-haul, low-cost carriers making travel to Europe cheaper than traveling around the US by air in most cases. And, while a record 13.6 million Americans did make it to Europe in 2016, it pales in comparison to the 45 million Americans who traveled to Mexico and Canada — which collectively saw an eight percent jump in American tourists.
All told 80.2 million Americans took a trip in 2016 which is just shy of one-quarter of the country. Hopefully, these trends continue and those numbers keep inching upwards.