US Travelers Less Interested In Traveling Abroad Since Trump’s Inauguration - Hopper Research

US Travelers Less Interested In Traveling Abroad Since Trump’s Inauguration

Patrick
By Patrick Surry
Posted Mar 28, 2017

Summary

  • Since the day of Trump's inauguration, flight searches from the US to international destinations have remained down 10% compared to the final weeks of Obama's presidency.
  • Flight search demand from the US to international destinations is down about 15% compared to the same time period last year. We observed an increase in flight search demand for the comparable time period last year which suggests the change is not a simple seasonal effect.
  • Flight search demand to Mexico and Central America are down 13%, Africa and the Middle East are down 14%, and South America is down 6%.
  • Europe is a big bargain this year with prices down 16% due to low fuel prices, increased competition from ultra-low-cost carriers, and soft demand.

Analysis

We've been closely monitoring how Trump's presidency and the proposed travel bans have impacted flight search demand from other countries to the US. Our data science team decided to take a look at the reverse to see if there has been any changes in where Americans are planning to travel internationally.

We analyzed flight search demand from the US for the three weeks prior to Trump's inauguration through the month of March.


Figure 1: Daily variation in flight search from the US to international, adjusted for day-of-week seasonality, compared to the same dates in 2016.


The graph shows that starting the day of Trump's inauguration that flight searches from the US to international destinations decreased and stayed stable around the lower average (down about 10% compared to the final weeks of Obama's presidency). The dotted line shows that flight search demand is down about 15% compared to the same time period last year. And, we saw an increase for the comparable time period last year which suggests the change is not a simple seasonal effect.

We also don't observe the same pattern when looking at domestic flight searches this year. Contrary to the international flight search demand graph, Figure 2 shows that domestic flight searches from the US are correlated with last year's trend. Domestic flight searches increase during February and March both this year and last year.


Figure 2: Daily variation in flight search from the US to domestic, adjusted for day-of-week seasonality, compared to the same dates in 2016.


Flight Search Demand by Region


Table 1: Year over year change in flight search demand from US origins to various international regions


Flight search demand to Mexico and Central America are down 13%, Africa and the Middle East are down 14%, and South America is down 6%. Demand to Europe is up 16% this year compared to last year. However, we observed historically low demand from the US to Europe last year due to turmoil in the region (terror attacks, Brexit, etc.). Although demand is up compared to last year, it's not what we would expect for spring and summer travel which are the busiest tourist seasons for Europe.

Flight Prices by Region


Table 2: Year over year price changes for roundtrip flights from US origins to various international regions for January through March search dates


Europe is a big bargain this year with flight prices from the US down 16% due to low fuel prices, increased competition from ultra-low-cost carriers, and soft demand. Flight prices to South America are up 23% compared to last year.

Methodology

The data utilized for this study comes from Hopper's real-time "shadow traffic" containing the results of consumer airfare searches. Hopper collects, from several Global Distribution System partners, ten to fifteen billion airfare price quotes every day from searches happening all across the web.