When Donald Trump ascended to the highest office in the land, foreign travelers began avoiding the United States in greater numbers, causing a tourism decline that has cost the U.S. an estimated $4.6 billion and 40,000 jobs in just the first year of Trump's presidency.
The latest data [from the U.S. Travel Association] shows a 3.3 percent drop in travel spending and a 4 percent decline in inbound travel.
The drop in foreign visitors also caused the U.S. to slide from being the second most popular travel destination in the world to the third, with France taking the top spot and Spain replacing the United States as number two.
In what has come to be known as the 'Trump slump', international travel to the U.S. began to slow after Trump took office.
Experts say that Trump's proposed travel bans, anti-immigration language, and heightened security measures have had a negative impact on the U.S.'s attraction for foreign visitors.
“It’s not a reach to say the rhetoric and policies of this administration are affecting sentiment around the world, creating antipathy toward the U.S. and affecting travel behavior,” Adam Sacks, the president of Tourism Economics, told The New York Times.
The U.S. Travel Association intends to lobby Washington this year, touting the benefits of foreign tourism, and is optimistic the trend can be reversed.
"While the U.S. government has been the source of a lot negative media attention this year, the travel industry must continue to stand for open borders, inclusivity and the celebration of diversity," said Leigh Barnes, the regional director for Intrepid Travel, in an email.