What happened 

Travel stocks had a terrible time on Tuesday, continuing Monday's rough start to the week. Investors are wobbling between bearishness and bullishness about the economy, and an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report didn't help matters. 

Shares of MGM Resorts (MGM 0.16%) fell as much as 4.9% in early trading, Wynn Resorts (WYNN -0.58%) slumped 10.5%, Airbnb (ABNB -1.86%) dropped 6.7%, and Trip.com (TCOM -0.36%) plunged 14.9%. The stocks gained some of those losses back by 1:20 p.m. ET and were down 1.7%, 6.9%, 2.1%, and 11%, respectively. 

So what 

The IMF said this morning that it expects global economic growth to slow to 2.7% in 2023, down from an estimate of 2.9% as recently as July. Outside of the financial crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, this is "the weakest growth profile since 2001," according to the outlook.

Slower economic growth could mean a number of things, from sluggish wage growth to layoffs that will impact consumer and business spending. And that's a big reason travel stocks are taking it on the chin today. 

More specific to casino stocks, Citigroup reduced its projected October gambling revenue in Macao by 20% to $680 million. Macao is still suffering from weak gambling activity as China pursues a no-COVID policy that leaves regions in lockdown periodically. There have been fits and starts toward a potential recovery, but nothing has stuck, and it doesn't appear October will be a great month, either. 

Global interest rates continue to tick higher today, which will increase the cost of capital for businesses and raise borrowing costs for consumers. The U.S. 10-year rate is up just 1 basis point to 3.89%, but Canada's yield is up 3 basis points, Brazil is up 11 basis points, and Mexico has increased 6 basis points today.

Now what 

The macroeconomic environment is really what's hurting travel stocks right now, not anything specific about these companies. But it's likely there will be an incremental impact in coming quarters, negatively affecting revenue following the explosion in demand as the worst effects of the pandemic abated. 

While this isn't a great outlook for these businesses, I do think this is a good opportunity to buy the stocks. Macao's recovery will take time, but when it does recover, MGM and Wynn will see a surge in cash flows. I also think companies like Airbnb are changing how we travel, and they're not going anywhere. 

Market moves like this are inherently short-term focused, and while we don't know what the next few months hold, I think all of these companies are positioned for long-term growth. That's why I'm not selling travel stocks today and instead will look to add opportunistically in the next few months.