US hoteliers look to woo foreign guests amid concerns over Trump policies

NYC is projecting 300K fewer international visitors in 2017

Mar.March 10, 2017 11:40 AM

President Donald Trump and New York City Hotels (Credit: Getty Images)

With growing fears Trump’s policies will adversely affect visitor numbers, U.S. hotel operators are launching international campaigns aimed at convincing the world that America is still open for business.

Overall, 2 million fewer overseas visitors are expected to visit the U.S. in 2017, according to data from travel consulting group Tourism Economics cited by the Wall Street Journal reported. It will be the first time the country has seen declines in foreign visitors since 2009, and major cities like New York City and Los Angeles are expected to be the hardest hit. Tourism Economics predicts the direct economic losses from the decline to be about $2.4 billion in 2017, although the U.S. hotel industry is yet to make any projections.

Experts have said international fears about the Trump administration’s proposed travel restrictions — coupled with the strong American dollar — is making the United States less appealing to visitors.

New York City’s tourism and marketing organization NYC & Co., for example, is launching a $3 million international billboard and social media campaign called “New York City — Welcoming the World.” It will be rolled out this month in the U.K., followed by Germany, Spain and Mexico. The city is projected the number of foreign visitors will drop by 300,000, a figure that was cut after the travel restrictions were first imposed earlier this year. In LA, the city is predicting barely any growth in international travel this year, caused mainly because a decline of nearly 100,000 visitors from Mexico.

Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Co., said that after the war in Iraq began in 2003, the city lost 1 million visitors, thanks largely to negative sentiment towards to the U.S.

“Words matter, and policies have an impact on people’s perceptions of a destination,” Dixon told the newspaper.

However, White House spokesperson told the Journal in a statement that it’s not surprising that New York and Los Angeles are “generally not supportive of the president’s agenda,” are “trying to make something out of nothing on this.” She added that “the president is confident that the United States will remain a hub of international tourism.” [WSJ]Miriam Hall

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