The Tragic Tale of Trump and Tourism

It should come as no surprise to anyone that President Donald Trump has been taking an aggressive stance on the amount of immigrants looking to enter the United States from certain countries since he has taken office. While this stance may have stirred up a large amount of controversy, the true extent of the adverse effects are yet to be recognized. Those who look to lose the most in this travel ban ordeal are those associated with the tourism industry in the U.S. Although the legal effects of this ban are still being debated in court, the true impact of this ideology has had a far more profound effect on the citizens of those in other countries who are planning to visit.

The percentage of visitors that are projected to enter the U.S. this year is staggering. International firms believe that the number of visitors are expected to decrease by as much as 8.2% or around 6.3 million tourists. The amount spent on average by a tourist is around 4-5 thousand dollars. If these numbers hold true, that would mean losses of over 27-30 billion dollars annually. However, the true impact on the tourist industry would be felt hardest in countries such as Mexico and Canada. Still, the overall impact on the U.S. economy could mean losses of around 10.8 billion dollars. These numbers are only relative to people who visit the United States for leisure purposes. During the week after President Trump originally announced his travel ban, the U.S. saw approximately a $185 million loss on business travel expenses alone.

The tourism industry is a massive generator of revenue for the United States economy. Tourism directly provides the U.S. with more than 8.1 million jobs. The projected losses in revenue will most likely be felt in most of the major cities rather than less densely populated areas, which could mean trouble for employment. However, this will not have a profound effect on the unemployment rate because 8.1 million jobs does not make up a large portion of total employment, and a prolonged cyclical decrease in tourism would not see devastating effects on employment. Cities such as New York City have already started to feel the effects of the travel ban after seeing a 2% decrease in visitors, the first decline after eight consecutive years of increased visitation rates. The projected losses of revenue in New York alone is around $600 million. Other major cities such as Los Angeles are projected to see losses of up to $736 million.

What economists must look at now are whether or not there is a way to reverse the effects of the attempts at a travel ban in the United States. Congress can make efforts to reverse the ban by adding increased pressure towards Trump’s executive orders. However, even if the ban is completely lifted, the effects of Trump’s harsh rhetoric are more of a permanent issue. Citizens of every other country have received the message that the Tump administration does not look kindly towards outsiders, not matter which country they may be from. The hesitation of others to visit the United States is warranted because no one knows at what time their country could be added to the list of banned travelers.

The policy of protectionism only chokes the economy of the United States, as it’s obvious effects are a decrease in GDP due to a lack of net exports. Factors such as the trade war with China that Trump has been outspoken about could mean massive losses to the GDP. Other side effects of the protectionist ideals and anti-immigration laws include decreases in industries such as tourism. Although the travel ban has been minimized, that does not mean it’s effects will be minimized on the tourism industry as well. This slowdown in the U.S. tourist industry will be felt for the entirety of Trump’s presidential term.

-Jack Dion




3 thoughts on “The Tragic Tale of Trump and Tourism

  1. Victor Matheson

    Not sure how you came up with this claim “However, the true impact on the tourist industry would be felt hardest in countries such as Mexico and Canada.”

    Aside from that criticism, I think this is a serious issue. On a personal note, as a college professor (and as a soccer referee) I am often in the business of selling my services to foreigners. To the extent that foreigners are less likely to come to the US as students or immigrants, that is less money for me.

  2. kevinlynch123

    This is an interesting post on how politics can effect the economy. However, I disagree that this rhetoric impacts all outsiders equally. I think it would be interesting to look at the decreases in tourism from specific countries and look at where those foreigners typically visit in the US and how much they spend. That would give a more complete picture of which cities will be impacted by Trump’s rhetoric, and how much they will be effected.


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