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Published on : Thursday, September 7, 2017
The steepest declines were from the Middle East and Africa. From these regions, there were one-fourth fewer visitors to the U.S. than two years ago.
Along with these regions, European arrivals were also down 10% to 2.6 million visitors. Arrivals from Mexico were down 7% to 3.9 million visitors during this period.
“It means that we are seeing substantial declines in international travel,” said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics. “Our concerns are being realized.”
As per a Commerce Department statement, “The Trump Administration is unequivocally committed to ensuring that the U.S. continues its globally competitive quality visitor experience while also ensuring the safety of both our residents and our guests.”
The travel industry of the US expected a drop in inbound tourism after President Trump’s “America first” rhetoric in his inauguration speech, his call for a wall along the border with Mexico and his proposal for a temporary travel ban for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries. Trump and other administration officials are of the opinion that the wall and travel ban are important security measures.
Federal courts halted the travel ban for citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, while awaiting a decision in the Supreme Court. Congress is debating funding for the wall.
However, the U.S. dropped two slots in international rankings of desirable tourist destinations even before the administration’s travel policies, according to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report in April.
To counteract these declines in tourism, city and state organizations started their own travel advertising earlier this year. Discover Los Angeles began spending millions in April advertising in Mexico, Canada, China, Australia and the United Kingdom. NYC & Co. spent $3 million to welcome visitors from the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany and Spain.