The COVID-19 has caused colossal damage to the US travel industry, grounding airlines, emptying hotels, and stopping almost all business and leisure travel for months. Although hotels and resorts implemented increased safety and sanitation measures and cautiously reopened in the second half of 2020, the pandemic’s second wave brought a new hit to businesses operating in the sector.
According to data presented by Finaria, US travel agencies and tour operators are expected to generate $63.5bn in revenue in 2021, $530 million less than in 2019.
US Tourism Industry to Recover for Years
Before the pandemic, the US travel agencies and tour operators market witnessed impressive growth, with revenues rising from $42.6bn in 2012 to $64bn in 2019, revealed Statista and US Census Bureau data.
Statistics show that nearly 80 million international tourists visited the United States that year, with the largest influx or almost 48 million visitors from the Americas. The total spending by domestic and international travelers in the United States, including travel-related expenses, lodging, meals, and entertainment hit $1.12trn the same year, up from $1.08trn in 2018.
However, the COVID-19 triggered the biggest market contraction in history. With thousands of canceled vacations, closed hotels, and travel restrictions in place, travel agencies and tour operators’ revenues dipped by $2.4bn in 2020.
Although this figure is expected to rise to $63.5bn in 2021, the recovery of the entire travel and tourism industry in the United States will last for years.
The Statista data show revenues of the entire sector are forecast to grow by 60% YoY to $104.5bn in 2021, still $40bn less than in 2019. The full recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels is expected to last for the next two years, with the US travel and tourism industry reaching $151.7bn value by 2023.
Revenues of Expedia Group and Booking Holdings Plunged by $15B Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Besides massive revenue losses, the COVID-19 also caused huge layoffs in the US travel agencies, with the number of employees plunging from 217 thousand in 2019 to 166 thousand in 2020. The IBISWorld data also show the number of businesses in the sector dropped by 10% amid the pandemic.
As the two largest travel companies in the United States and globally, Expedia Group and Booking Holdings also witnessed colossal revenue losses last year.
In 2019, Booking Holdings generated $15.07bn in revenue, revealed the company’s annual report. However, this figure plunged by almost 55% to $6.8bn last year.
Expedia Group Inc., the second-largest travel company globally, lost $6.8bn in revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the figure falling from $12.07bn in 2019 to $5.2bn in 2020.