By Ryan Velez
Hammering on issues with Donald Trump’s presidency, no matter what the angle you are looking at, is so frequent (yet deserved) that it has almost become blasé. One area of concern that many against Trump have leveled is how his views and politics have altered the perception of America in the eyes of the world. Many may have their own anecdotal views on this, but PoliticusUSA looks to a different metric: the cold, hard cash that is bleeding from the travel industry.
The Global Business Travel Association estimates a revenue loss of $185 million since Donald Trump was elected that some industry insiders are calling the Trump Slump. Many other indicators are showing a downturn in interest in traveling to the U.S. The Guardian reports that data released this week by travel search engine Kayak reported a 58% decline in searches for flights to Tampa and Orlando from the UK and a 52% decline in searches for Miami. Searches for San Diego were also down 43%, Las Vegas by 36% and Los Angeles 32%.
Flight app Hopper released research earlier this month that points to a similar direction. Flight searches from international origins to the U.S. have dropped 17%, and some of the specifics mirror the Kayak data, with San Francisco and Las Vegas seeing the largest declines in search interest. One of the major causes for this drop is Trump’s travel ban. While designed to target certain Muslim countries, there has been a 30% decrease in travel from Muslim countries overall, regardless of their inclusion in the travel ban. Examples include drops in flight searches from Saudi Arabia by 33% and in Bahrain by 37%, two countries not on the list.
This could pose a bigger issue for the U.S. economy than it lets on at first. In fact, Oxford Economics predicts that Trump’s policies, especially towards immigrants, could reduce the national GDP by .5%. Another thing to note is that the travel sector has been one of the country’s best performing areas. In 2015, the travel industry had the largest trade surplus of any economic sector at $98 billion. It made $250 billion in sales to foreigners. Should Trump look to work on fixing the trade deficit, he may be making things more difficult for himself and the country.