US tourist expenditure in Europe is expected to decline from US$116.1bn in 2019 to US$63.2bn in 2020, showcasing a 45.5% drop.
As infection rates across the US surge, this invaluable source market is still a long way from recovery, which will only make matters worse for EU destinations that are major beneficiaries from US tourism, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Countries such as Italy will bear the brunt of a steep decline in US tourism. According to GlobalData, the US was Italy’s second most important source market, in terms of visitation in 2019, with 3.5 million visits. In 2020, US visitation is expected to decrease by 47.3%, amounting to 1.8 million. In 2023, GlobalData predicts that US visitation levels to Italy will still have not recovered to 2019 levels, reaching 3.3 million visits.
“What will be especially frustrating for Italy’s tourism sector and wider economy is that US travelers spend significantly more per day compared to other valuable source markets. In 2019, the average international daily spend of a US tourist was US$194, which put the US in the global top 20 in terms of average daily international expenditure.
“This frequent and high-spending source market is even more important for the less economically developed and more tourism-reliant South of Italy. Many US tourists travel to the major islands of Sardinia and Sicily – where the local gastronomy acts as a significant pull factor. The lack of US tourism will no doubt extend the economic recovery of these islands. However, the ban on US travel is completely warranted. COVID-19 wreaked havoc in Italy and a second spike caused by international visitation will only peg the nation further back in its recovery process.”