Amidst his controversial travel ban, healthcare reform fiasco, alleged connections to Russia and constant getaways to his “bunker” in Mar-a-lago, the first few months of Trump’s presidency are – for lack of a better term – an utter train wreck. Protestors fill the streets, immigrants are being targeted and now we’re seeing a drop in tourism, particularly in New York City.
Looking at NYC tourism statistics, there is a clear increase in visitation over the years. From a total of 50.9 million domestic and international visitors to The Big Apple back in 2011, the number has climbed to 58.5 million tourists in 2015. The glittering, concrete jungle has been a beacon of tourism for decades, but according to a report in The New York Times, that is about to change. This year, New York City can expect 300,000 fewer tourists, a number expected to climb in the next two years. The reason behind NYC’s tourist decline? None other than the country’s Twitter wielding, reality TV-star-turned-president, Donald Trump.
NYC & Company – New York’s tourism marketing agency – suggests a decline in tourism will also translate to a large financial loss for local businesses, costing New York an estimated $600 million in sales. “The Europeans start coming to New York around Easter and continue through summer,” Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Company, told The New York Times. “That’s when you’ll see the rhetoric out of Washington really having an impact on travel.”
With American politics dripping in controversy, it’s no surprise that travelers are choosing to steer clear of the xenophobic rhetoric coming out of the White House. In an effort to fight the drop in tourism, NYC & Company is taking out billboards overseas and updating advertising to reflect a message that embraces international visitors. “We’re a place that welcomes everybody,” Alicia Glen, the city’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development, told The New York Times. “We’ll keep reminding visitors what we stand for, so we can keep this both the most internationally visited and the safest city in America.”