Travel

One victim of Trump’s travel ban: US tourism

The lower Manhattan skyline, including One World Trade Center. Some experts say President Trump’s travel ban could be as damaging to US tourism as the Sept. 11 attacks. Mark Lennihan / AP

President Trump’s travel ban targeting nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries may not have held up in court, but it appears quite successful at keeping plenty of other people out of the United States.

Trump’s order brought with it a swift decline in the number of worldwide tourists and travelers looking to visit the United States, say people in the tourism industry. Some say it could be as damaging to the US tourism sector as the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Online booking websites reported that flight searches from international points of origin to the United States were down anywhere from 6 percent to 17 percent since Trump signed the executive order on Jan. 27. But experts say what’s more alarming is the icy message it sends to the world.

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“The US is in danger of taking the same path it took after Sept. 11, which led to a decade of economic stagnation in the travel and tourism sector,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. “Strict visa policies and inward-looking sentiment led to a $600 billion loss in tourism revenues in the decade post 9/11.”

Just last week the US Travel Association reported that in 2016, the number of international tourists had finally returned to pre-Sept. 11 numbers.

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