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  The Herman Trend Alert

March 29, 2017

Sharp Drop in US Tourism Forecast

In our 2017 Workforce/Workplace forecast, we mentioned that tourism would take a hit, due to the presence of President Trump in the United States' White House. Now, we have confirmation.

British tourism to the US down by 17 percent
According to the latest figures from the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics (ONS), there was a sharp drop in the number of Brits travelling to the US in January, the month when Donald Trump became President.

Overall British tourism increased---just not to the US
At the same time, the overall number of Brits going abroad jumped by 9 percent in January. In a poll conducted by Travelzoo before Trump's election 31 percent of Brits said they would reconsider their US travel plans, if Trump were elected. In the same poll, 20 percent of respondents said they would definitely not go on vacation to the US, if Trump won.

UK is a big winner
In January 2017, overseas visitors spent 1.5 billion on their visits to the UK, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. Moreover, in the three months up to January 2017, the number of visits to the UK increased by 13 percent. During the same period, visits to Europe rose by 12 percent and visits to other countries (every other country outside Europe and the US), rose by 8 percent in January compared to the year before.

Trump's travel bans have hurt, too
Between January 27, the date of Trump's first executive order and February 17, flight searches from international points of origin to the United States on online booking websites reported were down anywhere from 6 percent to 17 percent. Though differently motivated, the new electronics ban will have a negative impact on business travel from the 15 airports affected----and even US citizens are not immune.

Other looming threats
Trump has characterized China and Mexico as "bad hombres"; a trade war with China would be devastating to the growing millions of Chinese visitors to the US every year. Several governments, including United Arab Emirates, the Bahamas, France, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Germany, have issued warnings to their citizens to be careful when visiting the United States, due to dangers like mass shootings, police violence, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT* attitudes.

The near-term future of world tourism
We see no end in sight for the isolationist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT attitudes of the Trump administration. Therefore, our forecast is that the travel and tourism of countries considered to be safer than others, especially previously less-popular destinations, will be the beneficiaries of the decrease in travel to the US. We also believe that the cruise industry will also benefit from this new environment.

What this means for travel and tourism everywhere
World leaders, like Trump, need to be made aware of the unintended consequences of their actions, because they know not what they do.

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender

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