Travel to US Remains Strong, Despite Trump Executive Orders

In this July 11, 2017 photo, visitors to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum take shelter beneath a museum overhang during a sudden rainstorm in New York. Last winter the U.S. tourism industry worried about a “Trump slump,” fearing that Trump administration policies might discourage international travelers from visiting the U.S. But statistics from the first half of 2017 suggest that the travel to the U.S. is robust and a number of sectors have reported increased international visitation. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(CN) – International travel to the US continued to grow in May despite ongoing turbulence over the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to impose a travel ban on six Middle Eastern nations.

According to the US Travel Association, the number of international travelers entering the US in May grew 5.2 percent compared to the same month in 2016.

What’s more, says the association, a nonprofit representing the travel industry, its revised Travel Trends Index shows a 6.6 percent increase in international travel to the US in April, year over year.

April was the first month of data to begin fully reflecting any effects of President Donald Trump’s initial executive order on immigration issued Jan. 27.

The numbers have been so good, said Roger Dow, CEO of the association, that they might even be considered something of a “Trump bump.”

“There is widespread talk of daunting challenges to the U.S. travel market — perception of the country abroad is mentioned most, but the strong dollar and slowing global economy are factors as well — yet the resilience of our sector continues to astound,” Dow said.

“Tourism marketing efforts at the federal, state and local level undoubtedly deserve a large measure of credit, and policymakers need to be aware of the large dividends these programs are paying for economic activity, jobs and tax revenues,” he said.

According to the association’s latest analysis, leisure travel continued to lead the domestic market, but business travel growth rallied after a lackluster performance in April that was largely attributable to the timing of holidays like Easter and Passover.

The Travel Trends Index predicts slower growth for the rest of 2017, but still nearly 2 percent higher than last year through November.

The U.S. Travel Association developed the Travel Trends Index in partnership with Oxford Economics, and draws from multiple data sources to develop these monthly readings.

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