Society

U.S. Tourism Takes Big Drop Since Trump Entered Office

| by Lauren Briggs

Fewer international tourists are visiting the U.S. in 2017, according to a report, and some say President Donald Trump is to blame for the decline.

In March, international tourism in the U.S. dropped by 16 percent compared to the same period in 2016, and it has been on the decline since October 2016, shortly before Trump was elected president in the Nov. 8 election, according to a May 24 report published on Medium by Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck.

From October to March, tourism in the rest of the world went up by 6 percent, but the amount of foreigners visiting America dropped by 11 percent during the same time.

In particular, the customer visit tracking company found that those traveling from Central and South America and the Middle East have stayed away from the U.S., while people in other areas, such as Europe and Asia, have shown more consistent visitation patterns. In light of Trump's focus on tightening up who travels and emigrates to America from those lower-visiting countries, Glueck correlated the travel slump to the new administration.

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"Proponents of President Trump's new policies might argue that the President intended to reduce visitors from certain countries, and that the economic cost is outweighed by claimed security needs," Glueck writes. "Critics of the administration may question the effectiveness of these new tactics. Either way, we believe that the direct economic impact from these policies should be in the conversation." 

Glueck is far from the first number cruncher to connect a loss of tourism to Trump's policies. In March, Pennsylvania economic consulting firm Tourism Economics projected that the U.S. will lose $10.8 billion in tourism spending -- or 6.3 million visits -- by the end of 2018, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"It is a perception challenge," Adam Sacks, the company's president, told the Los Angeles Times. "People worry what will happen to them at the border. They worry if their cellphone will be searched, what [passwords for] websites they will be asked to jot down."

New York is projected to lose 300,000 international tourists -- a major source of revenue for the city -- in 2017, said officials. Foreign tourists in the city typically spend approximately four times what domestic tourists do.

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Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco are also set to lose big.

"It doesn't take very much uncertainty or antipathy to influence decisions away from a given travel destination," said Sacks. "Ultimately, destinations and companies are in the business of building a brand and a message that is welcoming ... All the 'America first' rhetoric in various policy areas like trade, diplomacy and immigration is conveying the exact opposite."

Sources: Jeff Glueck/Medium, Los Angeles Times / Photo Credit: Alan Kotok/Flickr

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