Summer of concern for the US tourism

Published on : Wednesday, June 20, 2018

US tourismLesser numbers of overseas travelers are opting to come to America.

Graduation season is wrapping up and summer vacation season is beginning, and this is the time of passage enjoyed by Americans and visitors alike. Foreign tourists flock to America’s beaches, parks and cities, and students drop from all over the world to study in the world-class universities of the US.

But data suggests that this summer, the outcome may be less for both.

Tourists and students account for roughly 80 percent of total non-immigrant visas issued by the U.S. each year. They boost demand for goods and services, which propel economic growth and empower the tourism industry and higher education system.

Last year, international tourism directly contributed more than $200 billion to the U.S. economy, and international students contributed close to $40 billion.

However, now fewer overseas travelers are choosing to come to America, which poses a threat not only to the tourism industry but to economic growth at large. Issuance of B visas for both business purposes and pleasure, have also fallen by up to 15 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of international students opting to study in the United States has also gone down. During the 2017-18 academic year, American colleges and universities saw a drop in international enrollment for the first time in more than a decade.

Several factors are responsible for this decline. The U.S. dollar has strengthened over the past few years, which have affected the purchasing power of foreign visitors and is causing vacationers to think about their visit to the States.

Recent policy changes and political rhetoric also play a role. Though the United States long had an arcane visa and visa waiver system, the Trump administration has increased the security protocols of entry for foreign guests.

The infamous travel ban and administrative changes to the visa vetting process mean several countries are now seeing fewer visas approved.


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