Does making America great include scaring away foreign tourists? It looks as if hundreds of thousands of global travelers are not putting Trump’s America first on their travel itineraries:
Overall, the 15.8 million international tourists during the first quarter were down 4%, or 697,791 visitors. The decline represented nearly $2.7 billion in reduced spending, according to an estimate by Tourism Economics of Wayne, Pa., which analyzes travel data widely used in the industry [Bart Jansen, “Commerce: International Tourism to U.S. Dips by 700,000,” USA Today, 2017.09.06].
Data from the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office show that visits from Canada were up 5.1% in the first quarter of 2017 (ah, those good neighbors the Canadians, coming south to bring us some sympathy and poutine), but visits from Mexico dropped 7.1% and visits from the rest of the world dropped 7.8%. The growth in Canadian visits declined each month, from 8.7% in January to 4.9% in February to 2.6% in March.
The decline in foreign tourists coming to America does not correspond with any larger global travel slump. Elsewhere, international tourism is enjoying a strong year:
International tourist numbers grew 6.4 percent in the first half of 2017, the strongest half-year figures in seven years, with Mediterranean destinations posting double-digit growth, the UN World Tourism Organisation said Thursday.
The number of international tourists surged to around 598 million between January and June, some 36 million more than during the same period last year, the Madrid-based United Nations body said in a statement.
…Southern and Mediterranean Europe saw a 12-percent rise in international visitors, North Africa posted a 16-percent rise and the Middle East recorded an increase of 8.9 percent.
Tourist arrivals overall in Europe, the world’s most-visited region, grew 7.7 percent.
Africa saw a 7.6-percent rise in visitor numbers, while Asia and the Pacific posted 5.7-percent growth.
International arrivals in the Americas were up 3.0 percent in the first half of the year.
Growth was solid in South America, up by 6.0 percent, while North America saw just 2.0 percent growth as a decrease in arrivals in the United States offset robust results for Canada and Mexico [“World Tourism Numbers Post Biggest First-Half Rise Since 2010: UN,” AFP via Yahoo News, 2017.09.07].
The rest of the world gains while America loses? That’s not my kind of American greatness. Let’s get our global tourism mojo back!