Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The World Travel and Tourism Council has warned a strong dollar and 'anti-foreign sentiment' will adversely affect visitor numbers to the US this year and has called on President Trump to act immediately.
The WTTC's Economic Impact Report 2017 says the US business and leisure travel sector continues to rank number one in the world, representing 20% of the world's travel and tourism GDP contribution, but growth figures are expected to slow down.
For 2017, growth is expected to be 2.3%, slower than the rate of 2.8% seen in 2016.
The contribution of travel and tourism to the US's GDP will predominantly be stimulated by strong outbound expenditure, which is expected to grow by 5.4% in 2017.
As a result of a strong dollar, travel abroad will be cheaper for US citizens, with the most likely beneficiaries expected to be Canada and Mexico, as well as the Caribbean and Mediterranean destinations.
Visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign visitors in a country, is expected to fall by 0.6%, primarily because continued dollar strength will make the US less attractive from a pricing perspective.
The WTTC said there are indications in flight search data that sentiment towards the US has suffered significantly in recent weeks, as a consequence of the Trump Administration's controversial attempted travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries.
WTTC president and CEO David Scowsill said: "The US…currently ranks number one in the world in terms of the sector's contribution to GDP, twice the size of the nearest competitor, China.
"Stimulated by the marketing approach of Brand USA established in 2011 and the visa facilitation efforts undertaken, international arrivals have shown very strong growth over the last few years.
"For the US to continue on this growth path, it is important to address the current forecast drop in inbound travel, and to reverse the negative perceptions created by the proposed travel ban.
"We urge the Administration to recognise the importance of our sector, both to the economy and to American jobs."
He urged Trump to 'continue to be open for business, which means no discrimination amongst those that want to visit the country for business and leisure purposes' and called for continued investment in Brand USA.
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