U.S. tourism jobs at risk under 'Trump slump'
Published Thursday, March 2, 2017 9:14AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 2, 2017 11:05AM EST
The U.S. tourism industry is poised to take a "big hit" in the wake of President Donald Trump's election, with many travellers opting to visit other countries where they feel more "comfortable," an industry expert says.
"A lot of people are saying, 'I'm not sure if I want to go to the U.S. this year,'" Frederic Dimanche, director of the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, told CTV's Your Morning on Thursday.
“Tourism is all about comfort," Dimanche said. "You have to be confident in the destination you are going to."
Dimanche says the U.S. has a reputation problem among travellers, particularly after Trump issued a ban on visitors from seven majority Muslim countries.
And the problem is not isolated to those seven countries. The travel site KAYAK says Brits are "falling out of love with the USA in a big way," with searches for U.S. destinations down dramatically. Interest in Florida cities dipped by up to 58 per cent, while searches for Las Vegas and Los Angeles were down by 36 and 32 per cent, respectively.
The travel site Hopper says global searches for U.S.-bound flights are down 22 per cent from Jan. 1-Feb. 22. The site also says interest from China is down 40 per cent, while interest from Russia is "well above normal," with an increase of 66 per cent.
The U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office says visitors from abroad spent a record $247.1 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services last year.
A tourism slump in the U.S. could mean the loss of thousands of jobs in an industry that employed 7.6 million people in 2015. The industry generated $1.6 trillion in economic output in 2015, according to SelectUSA, a federal program dedicated to tourism.
"Some jobs are going to be lost, that's for sure," Dimanche said. He says business travellers are starting to look outside the U.S. when planning conventions, while leisure travellers are seeking countries where they can feel more comfortable.
Dimanche says the hotel industry will be affected the most, followed by the flight and food service industries. He adds that the "Trump slump" will likely end a positive stretch of years for the U.S. tourism industry, in which it enjoyed 3-4 per cent growth annually. "Now it's going to be reaching a plateau for sure, and possibly a decrease," he said.
The financial value of the U.S. tourism industry has been corrected in this story.