Editor’s note: This Week in Travel (TWT) is your essential guide to smoothing the road from here to there for your attendees and yourself.

United Threatens to Pull Out of JFK

In a move first reported by Reuters, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby wrote an email to Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen asking him to increase the airline’s capacity at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

“If we are not able to get additional allocations for multiple seasons, we will need to suspend service at JFK, effective at the end of October,” read part of the email.

United currently has only two daily flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles from JFK. Its major hub is at Newark Airport where 69% of its flights originate.

The airline has been working to re-establish itself at JFK which is closer to NYC’s midtown than Newark International Airport (EWR), although both are connected via AirTrain, which is a $15.95 ride for most travelers.

Meeting Planners’ Takeaway: United’s hub is at Newark, which is easily accessible to the entire New York City metro area. If flights are pulled from JFK, it adds to yellow taxi fare in time and tolls.

If groups take private car services, the time difference from JFK and Newark to midtown Manhattan is less than an hour’s drive time. Traffic from Newark to Midtown can also be faster than traffic from JFK to Midtown.

U.S. Maintains Title as Most Powerful Travel and Tourism Market

In its latest Economic Trends Report, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has ranked the U.S. as the number one largest and most powerful travel and tourism market, despite serious economic losses due to Covid and related travel restrictions.

Although it retained the top position in the report, the sector’s contribution to the U.S. economy fell by $700 billion in 2019 to just under $1.3 trillion in 2021.

Research done by Oxford Economics said there had been no change in the ranking of the top three countries (U.S., China, Germany), although the organization said, “rankings are illusionary as the top economies bolstered their numbers through domestic travel, while international visitor numbers plummeted.”

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said in a press release, “Our report shows the resilience of the travel and tourism sector, despite the impact of travel restrictions around the world which failed to halt the spread of the virus.

According to the group’s predictions, worldwide business travel is expected to grow more than 41% this year. For the next 10 years it predicts business travel could grow an average of 5.5% annually and may return faster in the Asia-Pacific region.

WTTC predicts by 2032, China could overtake the U.S. to become the world’s biggest travel and tourism market.

The research shows China’s travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP could reach US$3.9 trillion by 2032, making it the world’s most powerful travel and tourism market. India could overtake Germany to reach third place with a projected value of US$457 billion.

Meeting Planners’ Takeaway: Retention of first place in the travel and tourism market by the U.S., even during Covid years means, according to the WTTC, that our domestic travel infrastructure and demand has stayed strong, affecting numbers despite major losses in international travel—good news for US meeting planners booking domestically.