President Trump might be putting America First by dazzling pundits with his groundbreaking ability to read a teleprompter, but he's certainly not doing much to help NYC's tourism industry. NYC officials say they expect foreign tourism to drop this year for the first time in seven years—all thanks to the President's divisive nationalist rhetoric and policies.
NYC & Company, which functions as the city’s tourism marketing agency, released its travel forecast yesterday, and they expect 300,000 fewer tourists in town in 2017 than visited last year. Officials believe the travel ban and the country's forceful anti-immigration push have made the United States much less attractive to visitors from overseas. "The Europeans start coming to New York around Easter and continue through summer," Fred Dixon, the chief executive of NYC & Company, told the Times. “That’s when you’ll see the rhetoric out of Washington really having an impact on travel.”
Dixon told the Times folks are hoping Trump's new travel ban, which is expected to be announced this week, will be less divisive than the original, but that's probably wishful thinking. "Regardless of the specifics, it’s pretty clear the message is going to be unwelcoming," Dixon said.
Beyond New York, travel firms say the country could expect to lose 6.3 million foreign visitors annually from 2016 to 2018, since it might be a little hard to get people to spend money in a country that elected a guy who called Mexicans rapists, openly contemplated nuking Europe, pledged to pull out of international agreements, and keeps attempting to ban Muslims from entering the country. "We’re going to be looking at a very challenging year for U.S. travel,” Adam Sacks, president of travel forecast firm Tourism Economics, told the Times, noting that searches and bookings for U.S. hotels and flights have dropped since the election, and dropped even more so after the first failed travel ban was announced in January. "The data are all showing a pretty dramatic shift in behavior and interest," he said. "That certainly accelerated since the executive order."
NYC still expects a swarm of tourists from inside the States—49.3 million of them, in fact—but domestic visitors spend only about a quarter as much in New York as foreign visitors. Still, we can expect 61.7 million tourists this year—that means even more people walking four-across on the sidewalk, but now they'll all be wearing Make America Great Again hats. Maybe one of the few foreign tourists left can pack us in their suitcase and take us home?