Mike Maguire / Flickr tourists taking photos...
Mike Maguire / Flickr

When Donald Trump took office, many in the tourism industry feared his anti-immigrant, racist, sexist behavior would affect international tourism, a huge part of the U.S. economy, and it turns out their fears were entirely warranted. From the New York Times:

New figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show a drop in international visitors to the United States by close to 700,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. European countries were down 10.1 percent, and Mexico was off 7.1 percent in the quarter. The largest drops were from the Middle East and Africa, though they represent a much smaller percentage of overall travel to the United States.

Overall, 697,791 fewer foreigners visited the United States in the first three months of the year, down 4.2 percent to 15.8 million. According to Tourism Economics, a branch of Oxford Economics based in Wayne, Pa., that analyzes travel data, the drop represents a loss of nearly $2.7 billion in spending.

Foreign travelers to the U.S. typically spend 4 times as much as a domestic traveler on vacation. Much of this money is spent around our greatest treasures, our national parks, where small business rule. Mom-and-pop diners, hotels, leisure activities like horseback tours, ATVs, etc. All run by small businesses, all effected by any decline in visits from foreign tourists. The New York Times wouldn’t definitely point the blame at Trump, but their readers definitely did:

In response to a Facebook post by The New York Times, European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding or canceling trips to the United States.

“We are British Muslims and live in London,” Sabaa Farrukh wrote. “We wanted to visit N.Y.C. this summer but decided against it simply because we felt we wouldn’t be welcome there and didn’t want to waste precious holiday time in case there was a problem at passport control at the airport.”

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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