US tourism falls 4% year-on-year in Q1 2017

By Pouyan Broukhim

New figures released by the US Department of Commerce has revealed a 4% drop in tourism in the US in the first three months of 2017, equating to almost 700,000 fewer visitors.

The number of people travelling from European countries was down 10.1%, Middle East down more than 25%, and even 7.1% fewer Mexicans travelled to their neighbouring throughout this period.

According to a Tourism Economics, the fall in visitors equates to approximately a $2.7bn loss in spending.

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The US commerce department defended the administration, pointing to the rise in travel-related spending, up 3% year-on-year in H1 2017.

"This proves that international travellers know that the safety enhancements introduced by the Trump administration are far more important than the processing inconveniences from them," said Wilbur Ross, Secretary of the Commerce Department.

However, analysts are suggesting that the fall is down to President Trump taking office, with his administration’s visa restrictions on six majority Muslim countries and ban of laptops on certain flights earlier in the year.

Pew Global’s research supports this, with opinion polls from all countries apart from Russia viewing the US less favourably since Trump took office.

Furthermore, comparatively, Q1 2013 when Obama was reelected saw a 6.4% rise in international tourism.

Businesses have been impacted as a result of the loss in tourism, demonstrated where Emirates cut down on its routes to the US, citing reduced passenger traffic as the reason behind this, with the US being the only country among major destinations where long-haul flights declined in H1 2017.

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