- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The number of foreign tourists entering the United States has diminished since President Trump entered office, and travel experts say the slump has translated to billions of dollars in missed revenue.

The U.S. welcomed 41 million international visitors during the first seven months of 2017, or about 4 percent fewer than the same period in 2016, according to the latest Commerce Department statistics, CNBC reported.

Travel spending subsequently dropped by 3.3 percent during the first 11 months of 2017, in turn costing the country roughly 100,000 new jobs and more than $32 billion in lost spending, according to the U.S. Travel Association, an industry lobbying group, the report said.

“Fewer visitors means fewer hotel stays, fewer meals eaten in our restaurants, fewer goods purchased in our retail stores and fewer visits to our national attractions,” Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and a U.S. Travel coalition member, told CNBC. “It also means fewer American jobs and a loss to our economy.”

Worldwide, a record 1.32 billion tourists traveled internationally during 2017, the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization projected recently. Fewer made their way to the U.S., however, and the U.N. group recently announced that Spain would surpass the U.S. as the world’s second-most popular destination for foreign travelers.

Critics of the Trump administration attributed the slump in part to the presidency, citing Mr. Trump’s policies and rhetoric as contributing factors.

“Trump embraced hate, and the world has responded by shunning America,” reported Share Blue, a progressive news website owned by Democratic operative David Brock. “Trump has chosen the path of isolation and alienation. The rest of the world is getting the message and staying away, and America’s reputation and economy are suffering as a result of his childish petulance and bigotry.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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