Jing Travel has talked about the so-called “Trump Slump” in 2017 for U.S. tourism and how it’s not exactly a “Trump Slump.” International tourism to the United States was down in 2017, but not all U.S. destinations suffered heavily from the slump. Tourism from specific source markets, particularly China and Canada remained strong, and encouragingly New York City and Los Angeles both experienced tourism growth.
New York and Los Angeles have both had record years for tourism
Los Angeles had a particularly encouraging year for tourism according to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board Ernest Wooden Jr. All in all, LA welcomed 48.3 million visitors in 2017, 7.1 million of them international visitors.
According to the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, LA attracted 7.03 million international visitors in 2016, meaning that 2017 saw a modest net growth in international tourism. Tourism from Mexico was down substantially, but this was compensated for by strong growth in Chinese, Canadian, and South Korean visitors. LA attracted 1.1 million Chinese visitors in 2017, growing by 6 percent over 2016.
Los Angeles experienced modest growth in international visitors
New York did not fare as well as LA in terms of international visitors, with the number of international tourists dropping by 100,000 to 12.6 million. Nonetheless, Chris Heywood spokesman for NYC & Co. noted it was far less than the 300,000 drop they had initially predicted. Overall, New York City arrivals grew from 60.5 million in 2016 to 61.8 million in 2017. This growth was driven primarily by domestic U.S. tourism.
Overall, the United States experienced a dramatic drop in international tourism in 2017, with a drop in international arrivals of 4 percent according to the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). While this decline is in part explained by the political aversion many potential international tourists have for the current U.S. political environment and President Donald Trump, issues of flight availability and relative ease of visa applications also factor into this discussion.
The United States saw a drop of 4 percent in international visitors in 2017
Most significantly, the new data for tourism in 2017 out of Los Angeles particularly illustrates that Chinese tourism to the United States likely has largely been unaffected by the factors that have depressed the growth of Western European and Mexican tourism to the United States, which were down by 1.9 and 8.5 percent respectively. Even better news is that Canadian tourism to the United States has continued to grow and growth for 2017 stood at 4.6 percent.
Without growth figures for Chinese tourism specifically, it’s still not possible to fully gauge what Chinese tourism in the United States looked like in 2017 just yet. However, all signs are pointing to stable numbers and maybe even modest growth.