Travel to the U.S., a Major U.S. Export, is Down in 2017 as Industry Urges White House to Rethink Policy Messaging

In the first half of 2017, international travel to the U.S. decreased by 3.9 percent according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. The biggest drop in number of visitors to the U.S. from any one country has been Mexico, which has seen a 9.4% decline in 2017.  If considered a U.S. export, foreign tourism dollars are a significant economic stimulus for the U.S. The U.S. Travel Association states that the travel industry is worth $250 Billion annually and supports 15 million jobs.  While troubled by the decline, the travel sector is concerned that policies proposed by the White House, such as the travel ban and border wall, are having a chilling effect on foreign visitors. Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, wants to work with the federal government to grow travel and American jobs and exports along with it.  

The Administration needs to consider the economic damage it may be inadvertently doing to the country as it proposes such policies. As is the case with the White House’s, “America First” trade agenda, by being overly protectionist in its trade and travel policy positions, the Administration is overlooking the economic gains Americans receive through exports.

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