Destinations across North America are at different stages of tourism development.
However, one common factor between the United States, Mexico and Canada is that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 have been felt hard.
That is according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
A report, Tourism Destination Market Insight: North America (2021), found that total international arrivals to the region declined 67 per cent year-on-year in 2020 and inbound expenditure by 74 per cent.
North America’s forecast recovery follows the general global travel consensus that domestic tourism will recover first (2022), but international arrivals will not recover until 2024.
Forecasts for inbound tourism expenditure, however, suggest this will not surpass pre-pandemic levels until after 2025.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Covid-19 can still be identified as the greatest threat to growth within the travel sector, and in North America this is no different.
“The loss of inbound tourist spending in 2020 to North America was significant.
“GlobalData’s forecast suggest this is not expected to fully recover until after 2025, and this will be one of the greatest factors affecting economic recovery for the region over the next few years.”
One of the major benefits of inbound tourism is spending, which can boost economic revenues, stimulate employment and act as a catalyst for infrastructure development.
Each destination does hold a strong domestic tourism offering, but this cannot be relied upon alone to offset the collapse of international travel.
Bonhill-Smith continued: “Travel to North America from other destinations worldwide can be expensive.
“GlobalData’s survey found that 23 per cent of global respondents have reduced their household budgets in the past year and 27 per cent have ‘somewhat’ reduced them.
“Reduced budgets mean less expenditure on recreation affecting the ability to travel.
“Budget constraints are going to be more important in purchasing travel experiences over the next few years, which could jeopardize North America’s tourism recovery in comparison to other regions worldwide.”
Due to proximity, connectivity and competing low-cost carrier operators, travel between the US, Canada and Mexico can be relatively low-cost, spurring travel across the destinations.
Intra-regional travel will be vital in North America’s tourism recovery.
Each destination already relies heavily on neighbouring destinations as important sources for economic income.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.