Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trump Slump: Declining International Travel and Tourism in America

U.S. President Donald Trump's revised travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority countries will not reduce its impact on tourism, according to Taleb Rifai,  the head of UN World Tourism Organization. "People don't go to places where they don't feel welcome," he added.

Reports indicate that foreign travelers from many non-Muslim majority countries have also been met with hostility by US officials upon arrival in the United States.

Mem Fox, author of children's books advocating tolerance and acceptance, was detained by U.S. immigration officials as she arrived in America to give a talk about the importance of tolerance and acceptance, the Washington Post reported.  She said "the manner in which we were interrogated — in public view about really private information — was terrible. It was the insolence that was beyond mind-boggling.”

Hopper, an app which uses data to predict and analyze airfares, says that its research indicates that searches for flights to the US between January 26 and February 1 by internet users from 122 different countries dropped 17 per cent compared to the first three weeks in January, according to media reports.

Trump's travel ban has already resulted in a worldwide 6.5 per cent drop in the number of airline bookings for travelers headed to the United States, according to Daily Mail.

Global Foreign Tourist Arrival Data: Americas' Marketshare 16% in 2015
Meanwhile,  New York City projects it will see 300,000 fewer international visitors in 2017 than it did in 2016, a 2.1% dip, according to a report in USA Today.  It's the first time that group of travelers has shrunk since 2008, according to NYC and Company, New York's tourism arm.

The US travel industry had nearly $250 billion in sales to foreigners in 2015 and had a $98 billion trade surplus, the most of any sector, according to MarketWatch. Without travel, the U.S. trade deficit would be about 20% larger, $600 billion instead of $500 billion.

It seems that President Trump's policies are not only hurting America's image abroad but also contributing to potential job losses in travel and tourism industry that employs millions of Americans. Such policies are more likely to hurt than help the "working class white" Americans who voted for Mr. Trump.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rising Hate Crimes in Trump's America

Trump Phenomenon

A Conversation with White Nationalist Jared Taylor

Implications of Trump's Muslim Ban

Islamophobia and Gun Violence in America

Policy Impact of Trump's Appointments 


Ahmed F. said...

Great piece. How did the administration not anticipate this drop in travel?

And also see this.


Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad F: "Great piece. How did the administration not anticipate this drop in travel?'

White nationalists like Bannon who advise Trump do not care about negative economic impact of their xenophobic policies. Bannon's friend Jared Taylor who we had on our show made it clear that keeping America white is more important than economic benefits of diversity

Watch it here


Mohsin H. said...

Interesting! Flew back from London last evening and the united flight was eerily empty!

Not sure if it's off season or the Trump phenomenon!

Riaz Haq said...

Mohsin H: "Interesting! Flew back from London last evening and the united flight was eerily empty! "

Anecdotal but confirming nonetheless

Abid F. said...

I am flying back from Australia next Wednesday. Hope my flight is nearly empty so I can stretch out and get some sleep on this 15 hour flight :-)

Abdul Jabbar said...

Mr Trump needs medical attention.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump slump? Signs of drop in international #tourism to U.S. of #America

The U.S. Travel Association said recently the Trump administration’s immigration policies are hurting tourism.

The nonprofit industry organization said in a statement that there are “mounting signs” of “a broad chilling effect on demand for international travel to the United States.”

Tourism is an enormous sector of the U.S. economy, generating $2.1 trillion in economic output and supporting 15.1 million jobs, with international visitors a key component, according to data from the U.S. Travel Association.

“Security is a top priority for the U.S. travel community, but it’s critical to balance both sides of the ledger: make clear who is not welcome, but also who remains welcome,” Dow said.

A Jan. 30 op-ed piece in the Toronto Star newspaper encouraged Canadians to “boycott vacations to the U.S.” until Trump is no longer president.

NYC & Company is launching a new campaign called “New York City – Welcoming the World” to try to counteract the expected downturn. The agency said in a press release that the campaign is intended to reassure international travelers who may feel deterred about traveling to the U.S. that they are welcome in New York.

Riaz Haq said...

#Foreign #students continue to turn away from #US #universities. #Trump https://qz.com/1267351 via @qz

Last year wasn’t a fluke. The US has lost its appeal to international students.

The US issued visas to less than 400,000 international students in fiscal year 2017. That’s a 17% decline from 2016, and a 40% drop from 2015.

The decline in student visas issued makes it seem like there’s a dramatic decline in international students in the US. That’s a bit misleading. A US policy change in 2014 allowed Chinese nationals to renew student visas once every five years instead of every year. The result has been fewer annual applications from Chinese students, who make up about a third of the foreign-student population in the US.

Enrollment figures give a clearer picture than do numbers of student visas issued—but the decline is there, too. According to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education, enrollment of first-time international students fell an average of 7% in fall 2017 from a year ago across 522 US institutions.

One contributing factor to the decline is the drop in Saudi Arabian students. The Saudi government cut funding for international-education scholarships in 2016 after a year of low oil prices, resulting in a 14% drop in the number of incoming students from the prior year. Saudi nationals were the fourth-largest group of foreign students in the US in 2017.

Another factor: US universities are getting more expensive. Facing deep state budget cuts and legislative protection for local students, some major public universities increased tuition for international students to raise revenue.

The current US political climate makes the situation even worse. A number of policies instituted by the Trump Administration, ostensibly aimed at protecting Americans, have barred international students from entering the country. A majority of US academic institutions cited visa issues as the top reason for enrolling fewer international students in fall 2017.

As of March 2018, there were 0.5% fewer F-1 and M-1 visa holders–a measure for the number of foreign students enrolled in academic and vocational programs–in the US than a year ago. Though slight, it’s the first decline since the 2008 recession.

The international demand for higher education hasn’t gone away. It moved elsewhere. Other English-speaking countries saw their numbers of international higher-ed students rise. More international students applied to universities in Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the UK—despite Brexit—in 2017 than in 2016. The US is the outlier.