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Interest in Travel to U.S. Down Overall—but Up in Asia

The overall number of international travelers planning to visit the United States has declined slightly over the past year as a result of the political climate, according to an analysis conducted by Brand USA, a public-private organization created by Congress to promote U.S. tourism.

Twenty-seven percent of travelers were planning a U.S. trip in March 2016, the group says. That number is at 25% today. Brand USA began tracking the effect of politics on inbound travelers last summer.

Some travel experts, our own Arthur Frommer among them, have commented on a perceived drop in interest in travel to the U.S. as a result of President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, including temporary bans (since struck down in the courts) on travelers from select predominantly Muslim countries and promises to crack down on undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

Consequently, Brand USA's study found that the percentage of Mexicans planning visits to the U.S. has dropped about 15 points. Canadians are less likely to visit, too, though that could have as much to do with the current weakness of their currency against the U.S. dollar.

The number of Asians planning trips to the U.S., on the other hand, is on the rise. As a matter of fact, a majority of travelers from the following countries say the current political situation makes them more likely to visit the U.S.: China, Japan, India, Korea, and—a South American outlier—Brazil.

Of course, it's too soon to gauge the long-term impact of Trump on foreign travel—especially in the case of a White House this volatile.