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National Restaurant Association - Anticipated tourism spike can boost restaurant sales

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Anticipated tourism spike can boost restaurant sales

Recent Commerce Department travel projections could mean could good news for the restaurant industry.

The agency recently announced that it expected international travel to the United States to grow significantly in the next five years. Visitor volume is expected to increase 7 percent and to reach 64 million visitors who stay at least one night in the United States.

Restaurants get 15 to 40 percent of their annual sales from travelers and visitors, according to National Restaurant Association research.

The Commerce Department anticipates international visitor volume to grow 6 percent to 8 percent annually between in the next five years. That would mean 89 million visitors by 2016, a 49 percent increase from 20101 -- and an additional 29 million visitors.
All world regions are forecast to grow over the period, with the greatest coming from Asia and Oceania. Countries with the largest forecasted growth are China (232 percent), South Korea (200 percent), Brazil (150 perecent), Russian Federation (139 percent) and India (94 percent).

Six countries are expected to account for three-fourths of the projected growth between 2010 through 2016. They are Canada, Mexico, South Korea, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The expected growth from Canada would be larger than visitor volume from other country in 2016 except Mexico.

The forecast takes into account growth that could result starting next year from the United States' new national marketing efforts through its Corporation for Travel Promotion. Tthe Travel Promotion Act of 2009 authorized the creation of the corporation to promote the United States as a premier travel destination to international travelers. The impact is expected to be minimal next year but progressively increase through 2016, the Commerce Department says.

The National Restaurant Association is part of the Discover America Partnership and worked to pass the Travel Promotion Act. The coalition brings together business and hospitality industry leaders to help make the United States more competitive in attracting visitors from around the globe.

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