Tourism tanks

How travel ban, unfriendly immigration sentiment has impacted tourism

Travel and tourism are major industries in the U.S, contributing $1.5 trillion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Furthermore, 9.4 percent of jobs are linked to the sector, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Foreign tourism alone contributes $250 billion annually, with each tourist spending an average of $4300 over 18 days spent in the states, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Worldwide visitors were on the rise, from 54 million in 2015 to 77 million in 2016.

Yet The Boston Globe reported a six to 17 percent decrease in flight searches from international points of origin to the U.S.since Trump signed his executive order on January 27 for a travel ban on mostly Muslim countries.

Although the order did not hold up in court, it has caused a severe decline in tourism to the U.S.

“On multiple fronts–diplomacy, trade, border control, visa policy—international markets are receiving a message that America is no longer a welcoming destination,” said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, to ABC News.

NYC & Co. predicted a decline of about 300,000 international tourists and $600 million in spending for New York City. Discover Los Angeles forecasted a loss of 800,000 foreign visitors and $736 million in direct spending for the city over the next three years due to the ban.

As for the entire nation, the U.S. is expected to lose 10.6 million tourists, costing the sector more than $18 billion over the next two years, as estimated by Tourism Economics.

“It’s because the travel ban and Trump’s other attempts to restrict immigration make the country seem hostile. It’s no longer a welcoming land for tourists,” said Melinda Looney-Ho, 11.

International travel is not the only issue.

“The tourism sector may also lose potential domestic tourists, who decide to move business conferences overseas due to concerns over problems their international attendees may face,” according to ABC News.

This is not the first time the US has faced tourism issues. After the attacks of 9/11, stricter policies led to a $600 billion dollar loss for the tourism sector.