The number of international visitors arriving in the United States fell nearly 4 percent in the first six months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to newly released government data.
From June 2016 through June 2017, overall international inbound travel decreased 3.9 percent, according to data released Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Travel and Tourism Office in Washington.
The biggest drop in travel has been from Mexico, with a 9.4 percent decline in visitors coming into the US.
Fewer visitors came from nearly every region of the world, with declines in arrivals from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, reports Business Insider.
The only country that sent more visitors in the first six months of 2017 compared with 2016 was Canada, which saw a 5 percent increase.
Business Insider adds:
The overall drop was even higher in June alone than for the six-month period, with a 6.7 percent decline in June 2017 compared with June 2016, the NTTO data showed.
A few numbers stood out. The decline from the Middle East was substantial at nearly 30 percent, January to June, year over year. Visitors from Mexico in June dropped 16 percent compared with the previous June, and there was a 9.4 percent decline in visitors from Mexico in the six-month period. Visitors from Western Europe were down just 1.8 percent for the six months.
The travel sector has repeatedly urged the Trump administration to more clearly communicate who is welcome to the U.S., warning that Trump’s policies and extreme rhetoric could have a chilling effect on the $250 billion industry.
Travel is the nation’s No. 2 export and supports more than 15 million American jobs, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
“The latest government travel data is deeply concerning not just to our industry, but to anyone who cares about the economic well-being of the United States … These numbers are an undeniable wake-up call, and correcting this troubling trend needs to become a national priority,” Roger Dow, president, and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The travel industry will turn over every stone looking for all available policy options to better promote the U.S. as an international destination, and we stand ready to partner with the federal government to grow travel and American jobs and exports along with it.”