Still open for business

Tourism bosses assure holidaymakers they will face a warm welcome, but New York has cut its visitor forecast by 300,000.

March 10, 2017
New York now expects fewer visitors this year.
Photo: Christian Wyrwa

Despite record-breaking performances in 2016, some of the USA’s most popular tourist spots are reporting a more mixed outlook this year as the strong dollar and “Trump effect” take their toll. At best, some areas are hoping arrivals will match last year’s healthy showing, but New York has cut its visitor forecast by 300,000 after early flight search data showed declines from some of the city’s main source markets.

“Due to the political rhetoric and the travel ban, there is a bit of a challenge in terms of perception,” said NYC & Company senior global communications vice-president Christopher Heywood. “Words matter and what people are hearing affects their travel decisions.” NYC & Company unveiled an advertising campaign at ITB to “remind the world it is open for business and welcoming visitors.”

Another US tourism official, speaking anonymously, put it more forcefully: “I don’t think this disruptive type of politics is sustainable long-term for the world or the USA. It cannot go on for the next four years.”

Visit California said the continuing strength of the dollar poses a greater potential barrier to visitors, though it is crafting marketing messages to appear more welcoming. Visit Florida said it is confident of maintaining a strong performance this year.

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