Never in the history of the world has tourism been anywhere like what it is today. With each new year, a brave new number of total traveller arrivals is released, and times are absolutely booming. A record 1.32 billion tourist arrivals were recorded in 2018 alone, representing a 7% increase in world tourism.
But tourism isn’t just about people, it’s about economics too. Tourism is worth more than 1.3 trillion – not billion – dollars annually to the world at large, with places like Europe and the Americas taking a lions share with $590, and $320 billion respectively.
It’s for all these reasons that alarm bells are beginning to sound amongst US tourism officials.
According to the most recent data for March, the United States of America experienced a 5.4% tourism drop for the month of March, despite record gains for every other nation in the tourism top ten. It’s also no longer the second most visited destination in the world, a title now owned by Spain, second only to France.
Is it them, or just you?
Whatever your political affiliation, it’s no secret that the Trump administration has been polarising, especially on the world stage. From travel bans largely aimed at Muslim majority countries to new restrictions on the workforce, it appears that the effects of these policies are now being felt, at least according to the actual numbers.
Crucial tourism jobs, which typically have been filled by foreign visitors, are currently being left unfilled in the USA due to increased restrictions on work visas and it’s now borderline impossible to get a seasonal work visa. People are taking their discretionary travel elsewhere. When people feel unsafe, or unwanted – they visit other countries.
According to Oxford Economics…
“Soft global economic activity, persistent trade tensions and uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration remain major risks to international traveller sentiment,”
With secondary cities such as Charleston, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Portland and Nashville becoming the new “must see” travel darlings, it’s not as if America is at a loss for new year round attractions to draw travellers in. That list doesn’t even touch upon New York, California, Las Vegas, Florida or any of the other perennial favourites.
For now, all we know is that US tourism demand is in a downward trend, and as more travellers take to the skies every year, it’s pretty much the only one.