An article in the travel publication Frommer’s describes a dramatic drop off in travel from abroad since Donald Trump became President. This is not surprising on a variety of levels. There’s lots of press about a crackdown on immigrants or foreign visitors or at a minimum more scrutiny of both groups. But the Frommer’s article gives an overview of the scope of the drop-off from the travel press generally and also groups that track travel statistics.
The numbers are fairly dramatic in terms of the potential economic impact on the travel industry. Travel Weekly puts the drop of in foreign tourism at 6.8%. Flight searches for flights to the United States are down by 17%.
The tourism industry is one of the America’s largest industries. It accounted for $1.47 trillion dollars in 2014. The bulk of that is domestic tourism, of course. Foreign tourists are only one part of that. Still, it accounts for a lot of money.
As Frommer’s puts it …
A drop of that magnitude, if continued, would reduce the value of foreign travel within the U.S. by billions of dollars. And the number of jobs supported by foreign tourists and their expenditures in the United States—and thus lost—would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operations, travel agencies, and the like.
It certainty seems conceivable that these numbers might bounce back at least somewhat. The protests at airports around the country and detention of a limited number of people entering the US undoubtedly gave pause to lots of potential tourists who would not have been directly affected by the new policies. On the other hand, one might just as plausibly figure that even for those not at risk of being denied entry or detained, greater difficulty of entering the US and a general climate of not being welcome could sustain the drop or perhaps drive it further.