Tourism is Booming Globally, But America Isn't Benefiting
A new study published in Forbes confirms data released by the the U.S. Department of Commerce showing that America is slipping as an international tourist destination. And, perhaps more worrisome, fewer students are choosing to attend college in the United States.
Forbes: "According to a new study of worldwide tourism exclusively released to Forbes in this article, the United States is slipping in its attraction of foreign visitors. While the worldwide tourism market grew seven percent in 2017 to 1.3 billion tourists, tourism to the U.S. remained the same from the year before. Blame the strong dollar or tougher visa vetting procedures , but the numbers are undeniable. As places like Canada and the U.K. welcome tourists in droves, the U.S. is receiving fewer foreign visitors. Even students around the world are shying away, with international enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities dropping four percent during the 2017-2018 school year. This is a source of concern as tourism brings the United States over $ 210 billion in revenue each year and students bring in a further $ 32 billion per year."
Certainly there are a variety of reasons that tourists and students are choosing to go elsewhere, but some tourism officials believe that the Trump administration could do a better job in welcoming potential visitors.
USA Today: "Many tourism officials are also asking for an end to the political rhetoric by President Donald Trump that they say is causing many travelers to choose destinations elsewhere. Trump has called for the building of a wall between Mexico and the United States and a travel ban on people from certain countries."
"All the messages the administration has put out in the world is the closure of markets, the closure of access to certain demographics," says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the official tourism organization for New York City. "That is not the kind of message we want to be sending out to the world."
And, understandably, the parents of foreign college students want their children to attend school in nations that are welcoming, without the nationalist rhetoric that has become so commonplace in America.
Reuters: "Some immigration policy experts and college administrators attribute the decline to the Trump administration’s drive to restrict immigration and an overall sense of a U.S. political climate that is hostile to immigrants and foreigners."
“It is not a welcoming environment,” said Doug Rand, a former White House official working on immigration issues during the Obama administration."
“It’s an act of willful ignorance to suggest that our immigration policies aren’t having a direct impact on foreign student enrollment,” Rand said."