Tourism to U.S. under Trump is down, costing $4.6B and 40,000 jobs

by Ben Popken /  / Updated 
Image:  Tourists take photos of the Statue of Liberty
Tourists take photos of the Statue of Liberty on Jan. 21, 2018 in New York.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

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Travel to the U.S. has been on the decline ever since President Donald Trump took office, and new data from the Commerce Department shows the slump translates to a cost of $4.6 billion in lost spending and 40,000 jobs, according to an analysis by the U.S. Travel Association.

The latest data shows a 3.3 percent drop in travel spending and a 4 percent decline in inbound travel.

The downturn has also caused America to lose its spot as the world's second-most popular destination for foreign travel, ceding to Spain. (France is in first place).

International tourism to the U.S. began to wane after Trump took office, leading to a so-called "Trump slump."

Experts say that Trump's proposed travel bans, anti-immigration language, and heightened security measures have had a negative impact on the U.S.'s attraction for foreign visitors.

“It’s not a reach to say the rhetoric and policies of this administration are affecting sentiment around the world, creating antipathy toward the U.S. and affecting travel behavior,” Adam Sacks, the president of Tourism Economics, told The New York Times.

The U.S. Travel Association plans to launch a “Visit U.S.” lobbying campaign to encourage Washington to embrace the vital economic impact of foreign tourists, reports The Los Angeles Times.

"While the U.S. government has been the source of a lot negative media attention this year, the travel industry must continue to stand for open borders, inclusivity and the celebration of diversity," said Leigh Barnes, the regional director for Intrepid Travel, in an email.

However, he said, "We are optimistic that this trend can and will turn around."

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