Donald Trump holds very controversial views on immigration. Views that have got him into trouble more than once. Now that these views are becoming policy, however, Mr. Trump is not the only person in trouble – the entire tourism sector is as well.
The steady decline in tourism since the beginning of the Trump administration is referred to as the “Trump slump,” and it’s costing the U.S. big time. In 2016 alone, U.S. travel and tourism industries generated over $1.5 trillion in economic output, supporting 7.6 million jobs. Also, international travel spending directly supports 1.2 million American jobs, and accounts for about $32.4 billion in wages.
According to new data from the Commerce Department, the Trump slump has caused the travel industry to lose $4.6 billion revenue and cost 40,000 travel-related jobs. That’s some serious decline, and it’s caused many travel experts to worry.
“The [immigration] crackdown and the image of the U.S. as an inhospitable place to anybody who’s not a U.S. citizen is a byproduct of what is going on,” said David Leopold, partner and chairman of immigration law at Ulmer & Berne LLP. “It’s a devastating blow for the local economies across America where the tourism industry is one of the biggest players in town.”
“I’m not surprised inbound travel is dropping,” agrees Liz Carlson, a travel expert blogger who was recently named New Zealand’s top blogger. “Whenever I meet people traveling, everyone says something about it, and nothing is positive … My friends who have traveled (to the U.S.) recently are worried about the rules where TSA can look through your phones or laptops.”
Trump’s strict policies and insensitive words are making it more difficult for tourists to justify a trip to the U.S. This is seriously bad for small businesses in towns that thrive off foreign tourism. If the downward trends continue, more and more small businesses will either have to shut their doors or move elsewhere.
As long as Trump keeps doing Trump, foreign travelers will be weary of coming to the U.S. We can only hope that Trump will soften his tone and try to repair our image overseas. It’s one in a million, but there’s still a chance.