Despite soaring travel to Europe, less than half of Americans visit

At the start of the Trump administration, countries like France, Germany, Japan, and many others in Europe and Asia saw a steep drop in visitors from the United States — as high as 30 percent. That has abated somewhat since President Trump became president in early 2017, but demand has been stagnant at best, according to numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department and the American Society of Travel Agents.

Now, we learn that even several countries who felt the effect of Trump’s travel bans have stopped counting U.S. tourists on their exchange rates — which let officials see where travel markets are headed.

France has counted on U.S. tourists for years and the numbers have remained relatively stable under President Trump. In 2018, the country is expecting over five million U.S. tourists, an increase of over four percent from the same period in 2017. A survey of nearly 300 trade hotels — which may be the most representative sample possible — by Euromonitor International indicates that business is also trending up, according to Reuters.

In contrast, Japanese travel agents lost approximately 18,000 international clients since the United States reinstated its travel ban, according to Nikkei newspaper. The country is now forecasting a 5.2 percent fall in visitor numbers. Germany and Mexico saw much bigger jumps in the number of U.S. tourists — 25 percent and 22 percent respectively — with overall numbers surging as much as 15 percent, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

Latin America, long known as a hotbed of Mexican tourism, saw a drop in U.S. visitors in 2016 but has now rebounded to levels not seen since 2011, according to Reuters. A spokeswoman for Mexico’s Tourism Ministry said that the market’s improved performance is proof that bans — which prevented citizens from certain countries from coming to the United States for a year — have now completely disappeared.

Travel to Hawaii — home to the country’s largest U.S. military base and a famously liberal state with famously liberal personalities — has been largely unaffected. The state is expecting around 35,000 international travelers for the summer months, a 19 percent increase.

Both the European Union and Australia have seen the number of U.S. visitors increase significantly in 2018.

The data however, does have some flaws. As an online travel agency trade journal notes, the U.S. Commerce Department has not yet released 2018 tourism figures for the United Kingdom — which is often a potent source of U.S. tourists — so it is difficult to compare the actual data with the figures for 2017.

Read the full story at the New York Times and Reuters.


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