For a while now, economists and pundits have wondered if tourist visits to the U.S. would get hit with a “Trump Slump,” since just about everything President Donald Trump has spent just about every minute of the last four months relentless proving to the world that he is the quintessential Ugly American. Hell, I wouldn’t want to the visit the U.S. either–and I already live here.
Anyway, on May 24, NBC and a bunch of other news outlets reported that initial numbers sure seem to show that a lot of international tourists are finding somewhere to else to take their vacations.
“Analyzing data gathered from over 50 million mobile users across the world, location intelligence company Foursquare found that America’s share of international tourism to leisure locations has declined by an average of 11 percent since October 2016, with a low of 16 percent in March,” NBC reported. “While the strength of the U.S. dollar may be having causing some foreign visitors to decide to vacation elsewhere, the Trump administration’s policies on immigration and tourism visas and the current ban on a broad range of electronic devices in the cabins of U.S.-bound aircraft from certain countries certainly isn’t making the United States seem tourist friendly right now.”
The next day, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) released one of their regular news releases on visitor spending. Though its news release mention highlighted an overall increase in visitor spending in Hawaii in April, the stats on international travel are pretty much all bad. In fact, after noting increases in visitor spending from Japan and Canada, the HTA noted that “Visitor spending from All Other International markets declined in April 2017 (-7.9% to $220.9 million), as lower daily spending offset the increase in arrivals (+2.1% to 109,818).”
As you can see from the following stats, taken straight from the HTA news release, Hawaii has definitely taken a hit from international tourists:
- Australia: Fewer available air seats contributed to a decrease in visitor arrivals in April 2017 (-11.3% to 26,934) and in the first four months of 2017 (-5.1% to 91,085);
- China: Visitor arrivals rose in April 2017 (+5.5% to 13,781) but declined through the first four months of 2017 (-5.8% to 50,894) compared to last year;
- Korea: Visitor arrivals decreased in April 2017 (-9.9% to 16,222) and year-to-date (-3.4% to 78,049). The decline in April 2017 was partially caused by reduced seat capacity, as a carrier suspended service to Hawaii until late May 2017 for maintenance;
- Taiwan: Visitor arrivals declined in April 2017 (-5.8% to 1,243), but continued to increase year-to-date (+2.6% to 6,054) compared to a year ago;
- Europe: Visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland decreased in April 2017 (-4.4% to 12,119) and year-to-date (-5.3% to 36,830) versus last year;
- Latin America: Visitor arrivals from Mexico, Brazil and Argentina increased in April 2017 (+15.5% to 2,246) but declined through the first four months of the year (-12.3% to 7,944).
Now I’ll go out on a limb and say that I can’t imagine Trump is disappointed in this. He’s a wanna-be dictator prone to temper tantrums, and I’m sure he’s giddy that states like Hawaii–which overwhelmingly voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election–are losing money. Given the fact that Congressional Republicans seem happy with Trump’s embarrassing imbecility and immaturity, look for these numbers to continue to slide.