The biggest casualty of Donald Trump’s trade war with China appears to be U.S. tourism. That’s because China has apparently stopped exporting tourists to the United States.
At least that’s the conclusion of a new study conducted and released by Pennsylvania-based Tourism Economics (TE), which shows tourist arrivals from China to the U.S. in 2018 dropped a staggering 5.7 per cent.
To make matters worse, the study says arrivals from China in the first six months of 2019 dropped another 2.2 per cent.
This is costing the U.S. tourism industry billions in lost revenue - an $11 billion (U.S.) decline in 2018 from Chinese tourists alone, according to the study.
Tourism represents 11 per cent of the country's total trade surplus of $77.4 billion.
Last year, international tourism generated $197 billion for the U.S. economy.
It’s not just the Chinese staying away from Donald Trump’s America, though. Canadian arrivals in the U.S. have slipped 9 per cent since its peak in 2013, according to sources.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Travel Association recently released a report predicting the United States’ share of the worldwide tourism market is dropping dramatically, down almost a full percentage point in 2018 from 2017.
All this at a time when other countries are experiencing over tourism. Germany, for instance, recently reported an impressive 3.3 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in June (2018) alone. Germany saw an increase of 5.6 per cent from China in 2018.
Trump’s racist rhetoric, tougher immigration policies, regulations regarding travel and the ongoing gun violence in the U.S. have combined to blot America’s long-standing image as a welcoming nation.
The current downturn in U.S. tourism has been dubbed the “Trump Slump” and experts say overall arrivals to America from elsewhere increased just 2 per cent in 2018, one of the smallest upticks in recent memory.
Above: Chinese tourists have added billions to the U.S. economy.
It’s the dramatic decline in Chinese arrivals that really worries the U.S. travel industry, though. The 2018 drop-off comes after an average annual growth of 23 per cent from China over the previous decade, according to the TE report.
Similarly, arrivals to the U.S. from South Korea fell 3 per cent after averaging 11 per cent growth over the previous 10 years. Arrivals to the U.S. from Japan and Germany also contracted in 2018.
The study by Tourism Economics represents the worst U.S. tourism numbers since 2015 and is yet another blow to an industry beset by labour shortages thanks to Trump’s new rules restricting the import of seasonal workers from overseas.
"The outlook for international inbound travel remains lacklustre, suggesting that a further loss of global market share is in the cards for the U.S. in 2019," says David Huether, senior vice-president for Research at U.S. Travel.