Talking tough with foreign leaders might impress your friends, but it doesn’t do much for your country.
Take the U.S. travel industry, which holds sway as a top 10 employer in 49 states. Any time foreign tourists come to town, you have cab drivers, waiters, and hotel staff enjoying a bump in income. When they stop coming, the city loses millions.
So the idea of a U.S. president calling a country “a shithole” or a place where “rapists” come from hits Americans straight in the wallet. Last year, Colorado ski resorts saw a 30% drop in Mexican tourists following Donald Trump’s disparaging comments. Other cities, from Atlanta to Las Vegas, saw declines in international “long-haul” visitors — folks who spend an average of $4,400 per stay.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, the past year was the worst this decade for international visitors. While counties like Canada and Saudi Arabia saw bumps in foreign visitors, America’s share dropped below 12%. That decline was the equivalent of $32.2 billion in lost income and 40,000 lost jobs.
Looking at the numbers, we see the residents of certain nations in particular responding strongly to the words and policies of Trump. Here are nine countries whose tourists simply stopped coming to America in 2017.
It was a tale of two nations when it came to foreign tourists heading to China and the U.S. in 2017. China saw a 9.3% gain in foreign arrivals, while the U.S. saw a 6% drop. Tourists from China made up part of the group who stopped coming to America, with a 2% overall decline compared to 2015.
As Visit U.S. Coalition CEO Roger Dow noted, that was bad news for our trade deficit. “For our country to have any hope of closing the trade gap, international inbound travel must perform,” Dow said.
No one can outsource a U.S. hotel or beach, but they can stop staying there. It turns out trade deficits involve more than “deals.”
Next: Residents from this Asian ally also lost interest in traveling to the U.S.
Since Trump’s inauguration, Japanese tourists have not exactly been lining up to come to the U.S. Data from the travel industry shows a full 5% drop in visits from our Asian ally since 2015.
If this trend continues, the Japanese may end up outside the top 10 of U.S. tourism source markets. That would be quite a shift for the country’s longstanding friend.
Next: Europeans stopped coming to the U.S. at even higher rates.
While Americans never tire of Italy as a travel destination, the feeling wasn’t mutual for our European ally. Some 11% fewer Italian travelers made their way here in 2017 than did two years earlier.
As a country that sees African migrants land on its shores daily, it’s possible citizens weren’t impressed by the current administration’s anti-immigration stance. Overall, the U.S. market from four European countries declined by double digits.
Next: America’s top ally became decidedly less interested in a vacation here.
6. United Kingdom
For as long as anyone can remember, the U.K. has been America’s top ally, but things changed dramatically in 2017. Seemingly every month, Trump did something to antagonize the British, culminating in a remarkable rebuke by Parliament in November.
Soon after, Trump canceled a planned visit amid concerns of widespread protests. Well, plenty of British tourists canceled their U.S. trips, too. America saw a 14% drop in market share from the U.K.
Next: Travel from another Asian power dipped remarkably under Trump.
While relations between India and the U.S. remained cordial throughout 2017, a big drop in tourism from the country suggests travelers are not OK with the domestic situation. Overall, America’s market share of the country’s travel fell 14% since 2015. Maybe some of those travelers opted for Thailand, a country that saw a 14% rise in foreign arrivals over the same period.
Next: Travelers from this country preferred China and New Zealand to Trump’s America.
The January 18 headline from the Sydney Morning Herald said it all. “‘He doesn’t want me in his country’: Aussies shun Trump’s America,” it read. The report included a graphic showing where Australian tourists went instead.
Travel to China was up by huge amounts, followed by trips to nearby New Zealand. However, U.S. market share for Aussie tourists fell 14%, and it got worse later in the year.
Next: After Trump’s behavior with this Western leader, it’s no surprise travelers from that country stayed away.
Whether he was handing German Chancellor Angela Merkel a bill for NATO defense or refusing to shake her hand, Trump was not the ideal statesman in his dealings with the EU power. Merkel, even-keeled as ever, seemed to take the slights in stride.
However, Germans spoke with their wallets in 2017. Statistics show the U.S. lost 15% market share of German tourists over the year.
Next: Tourists from this major European market stopped coming in droves.
For another study in stark contrasts, compare new French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump. Macron is a measured centrist, a leader who hopes to unite his country while tackling international concerns (including climate change).
In various meetings and from afar, Macron has not been shy about his distaste for Trump policy. Apparently, the French people feel the same way. The U.S. lost 21% of the tourism market from France in 2017.
Next: One South American country had the most dramatic drop in U.S. visits.
If you look at all the top markets for U.S. tourism, one South American giant stands out: Brazil. After the U.S., Brazil has the largest population (208 million) in the Western Hemisphere and a growing middle class with cash for long-haul travel.
Yet the U.S. hold on that top-10 market shrank drastically (25%) since 2015. As other countries capitalized, Americans working in tourism lost out on Brazilian visitors.
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