Trump Effect? US Sees 16 Percent Drop in Foreign Visitors
The United States is experiencing a decline in tourism that started last year and just keeps going.
The United States is receiving fewer foreign visitors, reports the International Business Times. The media outlet cites research done by Foursquare that finds that, “America’s ‘market share’ in international tourism” fell by 16 percent by March 2017, if compared year-over-year.
According to IBT, Foursquare “analyzed data gathered from over 50 million mobile users across the world. It studied the kinds of foot traffic associated with leisure travel and with business travel. Foot traffic refers to pedestrian visitors to a business or commercial site.”
Instead of using official hotel and airport data, the study focused more on stops made at venues such as convention centers, restaurants, museums, stores and other sites by tourists visiting from abroad.
The question is, why? IBT has one very specific reason: US President Donald Trump’s executive order that was supposed to stop people from six Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States.
But according to IBT, the slump in tourism started in October 2016, before Trump was president; indeed, before many people even thought he had a chance.
Trump’s Executive Order 13769, which has been dubbed a “Muslim ban” by critics, was initially signed only in January 2017 (it was later superseded by Executive Order 13780 in March).
“While the travel ban is a factor behind the decline in tourism, the Trump administration’s current ban on a broad range of electronic devices in the cabins of US-bound aircraft from certain countries has also made the US not so tourist-friendly,” IBT reads, citing NBC News.
However, the data published by the National Travel And Tourism Office, paints a different picture.
According to their statistics, the total number of overseas arrivals (compared to the same period in 2015) started to decline in April. April 2016 was 4.8 percent worse than April 2015, and so on. The sharpest drop was in May, when the amount of tourists dropped by 7 percent when compared to May 2015. This was followed by a very tiny decline (but a decline nonetheless) of 0.1 percent in June.
The National Tourism and Travel Office has not published data from October 2016 and later yet, but it might be that Foursquare is missing the bigger picture. While blaming everything on Trump might seem terribly convenient for some, there could be other factors besides Trump and his orders. It might be worthwhile to look around for those before the slump continues.