Inward travel and tourism will contribute less than usual to the US economy this year, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have said.
The WTTC’s Impact Research report for 2017 shows that while the US travel and tourism sector is the worlds biggest, forecasted growth in the country’s travel and tourism industry is likely to reduce to 2.3 per cent, a fall from 2016’s rate of 2.8 per cent.
Globally, the travel and tourism’s contribution is expected to grow by 3.8 per cent this year, generating $7.9 trillion (£6.4 trillion) and accelerating from a 3.3 per cent increase in 2016.
The publication of the research comes in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump and his travel ban on citizens from six Muslim majority countries: Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
While these countries contribute only a fraction of visitors to the US every year, a number of key figures in the global tourism industry have raised concerns that the stance of the current White House may deter visitors and hurt the countries tourist industry.
Speaking to CNBC, The WTTC's President David Scowsill said: “(The ban has) sent out a clear message to the world that the US is actually closing, it's not open for business and it's not just the six countries that were targeted – it's actually showing in the advanced bookings around the whole world.
“So I think this ban is misguided. The six countries targeted – not one national of any of those countries has committed an atrocity on U.S. soil in the last 40 years, so this is not really a security issue, and the message that it sent round is that the U.S. is closing for business. It's not welcoming anymore, and that's a really difficult message.”
Scowsill told Reuters that: “The travel ban is not having a material impact yet. But we are seeing the unintended consequences of this now because the message has gone around the world that the U.S. is not open for business”.
“Overall the U.S. is still robust.