People, Travel

Trump’s Policies Could Cost US Tourism $18b

Trump's controversial travel policies have caused a stir in the US.Trump's controversial travel policies have caused a stir in the US.

US President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban and an inhospitable political climate could punch an $18 billion hole in US tourism by international visitors over the next two years, projections by travel analysts show.

Foreign tourism is a $250 billion-a-year business in the United States and Trump's original and revised executive orders temporarily banning travel from Muslim majority countries—put on hold by federal courts—have dampened interest worldwide in visiting the US, travel and tourism were quoted by, a subsidiary of NBC News.

“The US has put an unwelcome mat at our front door,” said Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, which conducts travel research.

Precipitous declines in airline bookings followed the Jan. 27 and March 6 travel ban announcements, and hotels reported less traffic in February.

About 4.3 million fewer international travelers will visit the US this year because of the bans, a revenue loss of $7.4 billion, according to Tourism Economics of Wayne, Pennsylvania. Another 6.3 million visitors and $10.8 billion that they would have spent will be lost in 2018, it estimated.

"'America first' rhetoric, which was pronounced during the campaign and Trump’s inauguration speech, is finding consistent expression in policy," said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics.

"On multiple fronts—diplomacy, trade, border control, visa policy—international markets are receiving a message that America is no longer a welcoming destination."

Roger Dow, CEO of the US Travel Association, which represents airlines, hotels and destination resorts, said the expected decline in international tourism marks a reversal from recent years, when foreign visitors rose from 54 million in 2009 to 77 million in 2016.

He said each visitor spends an average of $4,300 over 18 days.


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