Tourism to U.S. Rises Despite Trump Travel Ban

The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is pictured from the Staten Island Ferry at twilight in New York August 23, 2014. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The number of visitors traveling to the U.S. has risen, despite concerns that Trump's hardline anti-immigrant policies could hurt U.S. tourism.

The U.S. Travel Association said Wednesday that international travel to the country was 5.2 percent higher in May this year than in the same month in 2016, with foreign arrivals to the U.S. having increased 6.6 percent the previous month.

The report produced by the association and Oxford Economics, comes amid concerns that Trump’s travel ban and anti-immigrant stance may hurt the U.S. tourism industry. Security measures have targeted flights to the U.S. from several Middle Eastern countries, with passengers banned from taking laptops and tablets onto flights as hand luggage.

“There is widespread talk of daunting challenges to the US travel market—perception of the country abroad is mentioned most, but the strong dollar and slowing global economy are ­factors as well—yet the resilience of our sector continues to ­astound,” said U.S. Travel Association president and chief executive Roger Dow.

“Tourism marketing efforts at the federal, state and local level undoubtedly deserve a large ­measure of credit, and policymakers need to be aware of the large dividends these programs are paying for economic activity, jobs and tax revenues,” he added.

The U.S. Travel Association expects travel to grow by about 1.8 percent until November, but while growth in domestic travel bookings remains strong, a slowdown is expected later this year.

“There remains the possibility of unintended consequences from President Trump’s policies related to immigration and international relations,” the report says. “Looking ahead, these factors are expected to negatively impact international inbound travel.”