U.S. economy losing billions of tourism revenue to "Trump slump"

International travel to the United States made unusually large drops this year following President Trump's impositions of new restrictions on refugees and Muslim immigrants.
By Vicky Webb | Oct 14, 2017
Travel to the United States dropped precipitously this year following President Trump's travel imposition of bans on refugees and visitors from certain Muslim-majority countries, according to European travel-prediction firm ForwardKeys. The firm directly linked the declines to international travelers' disapproval of Trump's efforts to restrict and monitor foreign visitors, and it warned that this "Trump slump" could cost the United States potentially billions of lost tourism revenues.

"This must be worrying for the US economytravel is a huge earner for the United States, and relative to the rest of the world, its tourism exports are losing ground," said Olivier Jaeger, ForwardKeys co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

The number of foreign airline passengers arriving into U.S. airports has declined 1.4% since January, the firm reported. It charted a 1.3% decline after January 27, the day that Trump's first travel ban went into effect; and another 2.4% drop on June 26, when the Supreme Court endorsed the partial reinstatement of a second Trump-initiated ban.

Tourists may wish to avoid the United States because they worry that U.S. visa laws are in a state of flux and will be too confusing to follow, the firm's researchers said. They found that some foreign travelers also worry that U.S. security officials will search through their laptops or single them out for excess screening procedures.

ForwardKeys' findings corroborate U.S. Department of Commerce data, which reported that 697,791 fewer foreigners visited the United States in the first three months of Trump's presidency than normal. These drops add up to large drops in economic activity, according to several private research firms, including SelectUSA, which stated that the U.S. travel and tourism industry generated more than $1.5 trillion in economic output in 2016, represented a total 2.7% of all U.S. GDP, and supported 7.6 million jobs.

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