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Americans Got Their Passport Stamps Up In 2018
Last year, more Americans decided to travel abroad than in any other year so far.
According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office, 93 million people traveled outside of the United States in 2018. This is a 6 percent increase from the previous year.
Adam Sacks, president of consulting firm Tourism Economics, said several factors contributed to more globetrotting Americans in 2018: tax reform measures that gave both consumers and businesses more money for travel, faster wage growth, high consumer confidence, and low unemployment.
“All this is a perfect recipe for strong outbound travel,” he said.
At the same time, the U.S. dollar is still relatively strong compared to currency in popular destinations around the world, including in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and European countries that use the euro.
“This is just making international travel more affordable,” Sacks noted. “Americans are simply reaping the benefits of that increased purchasing power. And it’s really accelerated in terms of the effect on travel in 2018.”
As far as where Americans decided to go, Europe had the highest numbers of travelers. While there was a 12 percent increase in travel to Europe, some of that was due to people traveling through the continent to get to other destinations.
Americans also visited Asia, South America, and the Oceania region more than in years past. Africa saw a 7.1 percent increase in travelers to the continent.
While this study did not address the actual affordability of airfare, that may have been a factor as well. Many of the major U.S. airlines introduced their basic economy fare, which is designed to allow travelers to fly at a more discounted rate. While this fare has a few stipulations that a regular economy ticket wouldn’t have, it still helps on saving money which is always a plus.