U.S. Attempting to Reverse Tourism Problems

A new coalition in the travel industry is urging the White House to help it stem a fall in the number of international visitors.

More and more travelers around the world are skipping the U.S. prompting ten associations in the U.S. including the United State Chamber of Commerce as well as the National Restaurant Association to create a new travel industry group whose aim is reversing the unpopularity of the U.S. as a destination for vacationers.

Historically, the U.S. has only had to wait and foreign tourists would flock to the country to spend their money. However, over the last few years, that has started changing and that trend has accelerated since President Donald Trump started to fulfill campaign promises on restricting immigration.

Because of that, businesses that are part of the multibillion-dollar tourism industry that rely on revenue from foreign visitors are growing nervous.

On Tuesday, the biggest names in the industry unveiled “Visit U.S. Coalition,” which it hopes to spur the White House administration into enacting border security and visa policies that are friendlier during a time when agencies at the federal level are doing just the opposite.

Since 2015, Turkey and the U.S. are the only two places amongst the top 12 worldwide travel destinations that have seen a drop in the number of inbound travelers during a time when other countries like Canada, Australia, the UK and China have all marked large gains.

Last week, the Department of Commerce reported a drop of 3.3% in traveler spending for 2017, through the end of November, equal to losses of $4.6 billion and over 40,000 jobs.

The international long-haul travel share of the U.S. dropped from 13.5% during 2015 to 11.9% in 2017 according to data from the United States Travel Association, a drop the group equated to more than 7.4 million visitors and spending of more than $32.2 billion. Long-haul visitors average 18 nights and over $4,400 in spending, the group said.

The group’s president Roger Dow said that the U.S. was not winning when its falling behind its global competitors. He continued during a conference call by saying the group sees these new initiatives as just complementary to increased travel and border security and the goal is to make the U.S. the most visited and most secure country as both can be accomplished.

Coalition organizers say that America is still a vital draw for travelers and only modest changes to policy would be needed to bring travelers back.