Signs of drop in international tourism to US

New York

The US Travel Association said President Donald Trump administration’s immigration policies are hurting tourism. The non-profit industry organization said in a statement that there are “mounting signs” of “a broad chilling effect on demand for international travel to the US.” Earlier this week, the tourism agency NYC & Company revised its 2017 forecast to predict a drop in inbound international travel to New York City, with 300,000 fewer visitors compared to 2016. It will be the first drop in visitation to New York since the start of the recession in 2008. The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB) told the Philadelphia Inquirer this week that it had lost out on an international meeting with 3,000 attendees that decided to go to Canada or Mexico instead. And ForwardKeys, which tracks travel bookings, reported in February that “international trends in bookings to the US are down 6.5 percent compared with the equivalent period the year before.” “It is known as the Trump Slump,” travel guru Arthur Frommer wrote last month on Frommers.com. He called it “an unintended consequence of the Trump-led efforts to stop many Muslims from coming to the US,” resulting in “a sharp drop in foreign tourism to our nation that imperils jobs and touristic income.” The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Roger Dow, US Travel Association president and CEO, said there is concern that many international travelers have interpreted Trump’s policies as “wanting to discourage international visitors generally, not just those who pose a security risk.” Trump’s initial travel ban on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was suspended following a court order, but a revised executive order on visas and immigration is expected soon. The US Travel Association urged the administration to make clear in any revised order “that the US welcomes and values legitimate international business and leisure travelers.” Tourism is an enormous sector of the US economy, generating $2.1 trillion in economic output and supporting 15.1 million jobs, with international arrivals a key component, according to data from the US Travel Association. “Security is a top priority for the US travel community, but it is critical to balance both sides of the ledger: Make clear who is not welcome.—Agencies

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