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Arthur Frommer: An Alarming Drop in Incoming Foreign Tourists Will Devastate Us

The health of the American economy isn’t always shown in employment figures or gross domestic product. It is also affected by ups and downs in our success in attracting foreign tourists to our shores. 
And that result is rarely announced by our administration even though a negative figure can cause hardship to numerous American businesses.
In a devastating report recently issued by the prestigious U.S. Travel Association, it has been found that the drop in international tourists coming to the United States has been more severe than any of us had thought.  
Specifically, in 2015, the United States had enjoyed 13.7% of all long-haul international travel. In 2020, that percentage will fall to 11%, representing a loss of 14 million foreign tourists who would have spent $59 billion on our hotels, restaurants, shops, and other tourist purchases.  
From now until the end of 2022, the figures get even worse.  
In that three year period, the negative figure will amount to a loss of 41 million foreign tourists who would have spent $180 billion in the United States.
In New York City today, you see shuttered stores all up and down the streets of Manhattan, representing shops and other businesses that no longer enjoy the added income of foreign tourists.
Although a strong U.S. dollar might have contributed to some of that loss, most of it is directly attributed to policies promoted by our national administration.
You cannot prohibit tourism by Muslim visitors coming from several Muslim-majority nations without losing business from millions of tourists from around the world. 
You cannot launch a trade war with China without losing tourism from millions of Chinese travelers.  
You cannot proclaim “America First” without convincing the rest of the world that we are unfriendly to foreign tourists, losing their arrivals and their expenditures.
And as bad as the touristic figures are, they are only getting worse, according to the U.S. Travel Association.  
All this and more will soon be more greatly reflected in overall economic figures and will account for a drop in the living standards of Americans.  
You cannot thumb your nose at the rest of the world without suffering the consequences of those gestures.