Lighter travel ahead for US destinations after Syria attack, and Paris mayor talks tourism return

For many Americans, a planned business trip meant to be filled with relaxing and eating happy hour will likely also be marked by heightened security measures, especially if a visit involves foreign countries. But where these visitors go has seen a pick-up lately, from Canada to France. Most of the tourism was led by Turkey.

Germany, which saw a sharp drop after the 2016 terror attacks in Paris, has been steadily recovering. Turkey, following the shooting death of a four-year-old Syrian refugee in Istanbul, also served as a major reason for any European declines — but the country has also also seen a Chinese push that seems to have stabilized.

The United States, which is still a destination for many American travelers, has had one of the largest declines globally, falling by more than half since 2016. While no specific group of countries seem to be experiencing increases, airlines, tourists, and government officials have all expressed concern about how Trump’s travel ban affected Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mexico has been the largest factor behind the plummet. The arrivals numbers continue to be depressed after Trump took office and the threats of tariffs on a whole host of Mexico-centered products. When the world was going to feel increasingly less safe for US travel, Mexico took a significant hit.

It is unclear whether North American tourism would see a rebound under a second Trump term. North America Travel Association President Roger Dow said the decision of Hurricane Harvey, coming on the heels of Hurricane Irma, will impact tourism in the Houston area for about eight months. He did not say exactly when he thinks the effect will be felt, but the expected cost will be substantial for a region and industry that relies heavily on tourism.

Domestic tourism continues to increase, from the remaining (and growing) domestic travelers who flock to Florida and California to tourists taking advantage of the increasingly attractive deals on staycations. The attraction to a more domestic market could be especially appealing, as the US government continues to crack down on visas for some foreign visitors to prevent terrorist acts, which makes the US more of a target for potential attackers.

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