Number of international visitors to US drops as anti-foreigner rhetoric continues

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Number of international visitors to US drops as anti-foreigner rhetoric continues


Category: Airline / Travel

Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada have all enjoyed a bump of at least 20% in the number of international visitors since 2015, according to data from the U.S. Travel Association. In fact, tourism is booming in almost every major destination.

But there are two exceptions among the top 12 markets: Turkey, which has been hit hard by terrorist attacks and political turmoil, and the U.S., where anti-foreigner rhetoric has seen a boost under a Trump administration that’s making good on campaign promises to push for a stronger border.

This map lays out the trend:

Overall, the U.S. share of global long-haul traveled dropped from 13.6% in 2015 to 11.9% in 2017. According to the Commerce Department, there’s been a 3.3% decline in traveler spending, resulting in $4.6 billion in losses and 40,000 jobs.

“Fewer visitors means fewer hotel stays, fewer meals eaten in our restaurants, fewer goods purchased in our retail stores, and fewer visits to our national attractions,” said American Hotel & Lodging Association CEO Katherine Lugar. “It also means fewer American jobs and a loss to our economy. We are committed to working together with the Administration to balance a welcome message with strong security to ensure we don’t fall behind to other countries.”

In an effort to curb this costly decline, Lugar’s group and nine other business associations came together this week to create “Visit U.S. Coalition,” a travel industry organization aimed at burnishing America’s image as a must-visit destination.

“America is the best country in the world to visit, but we’re losing the competition for international travelers and the dollars they spend when they come here,” U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said in a release. “The Visit U.S. Coalition is founded on the principle that we can have strong security but at the same time welcome robust numbers of international business and leisure travelers. We can do both.”

The coalition doesn’t blame the Trump administration directly for the tourism downtrend, instead it focused on headwinds such as the strong dollar DXY, +0.02%tricky visa requirements, and the availability of cheap air travel to other countries.

“Flourishing international travel is vital to President Trump’s economic goal of sustained 3% GDP growth,” Dow said. “And the Visit U.S. coalition is being founded for the express purpose of helping him achieve it.”

Source: Marketwatch