The Impact Of US Travel Restrictions On New York Tourism

The City of New York is the top international tourist destination in the United States but it seems that the city will experience the first dip in foreign visitor’s arrivals since the recession. Trump’s travel restrictions has created a chilling effect for many international travellers regardless if they belong to the countries where a travel ban was imposed.

Based on the projections of NYC & Company, New York’s tourism arm, there will be 300,000 fewer international visitors for 2017 compared to the previous year. This will be the first time that international tourist arrivals will drop since 2008. Aside from the temporary travel ban against some Muslim-majority countries, there is also news regarding the building of a wall on the Mexican border.

Last Monday, the Trump administration has reissued the temporary travel ban but this time, Iraq is no longer included. When news came out that new restrictions will be coming, reservations fell by 4% with the biggest drop coming from potential travellers from the Middle East, Africa and Europe. When the courts intervened to stay enforcement of the travel ban during the first week of February, reservations rebounded.

According to Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys, the US on-off travel ban is creating a roller coaster ride for the travel industry. Meanwhile, flight comparison app Hopper revealed that searches for US as an international destination was at its lowest on the day that the initial travel restrictions were announced. Compared to the level during the last two weeks of President Obama in the White House, searches plunged by 17%.

The largest decline was seen in flight search demand and corresponds to the date when the US travel restrictions dominated the front pages of newspapers. While Americans still visit New York they cannot offset the revenue coming from foreign tourism that roughly make up 20% of New York’s visitors.

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