By Gina Martinez
President Donald Trump’s nationalist rhetoric and Muslim travel ban may cause New York City to see a drop in foreign tourism, according to NYC & Company.
The city’s official marketing and tourist group shared the latest revision of its 2017 NYC travel forecast that took into account the changing attitudes about U.S. travel and access since Trump was elected Nov. 8. According to the group, New York City will experience a decline of 300,000 international visitors compared to 2016. This is the first drop in visitation since the start of the recession in 2008. Not all hope is lost, though, since the group predicted domestic tourism would stay strong and was expected to increase to 49.3 million visitors in 2017.
“While projected declines among travelers are concerning, the irrepressible hospitality and welcoming nature of New York City gives us confidence that our destination will continue to appeal to visitors from around the world,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Co. president and CEO. “We will work tirelessly to do all we can to preserve our city’s tourism industry in the months ahead.”
NYC & Co. said domestic travel will help overall travel to New York City grow by 1 million this year to a total of 61.7 million visitors, compared to 2016’s revised final tourism figure of 60.7 million. The company said the spending power of four domestic visitors is equal what a single overseas visitor spends.
Rob MacKay director of public relations, marketing & tourism at Queens Economic Development, thinks despite the numbers Queens will be OK. The borough was ranked the No. 1 tourist destinations in the United States by the Lonely Planet guide company in 2014.
“Queens is going to have more tourists visiting these next years,” he said. “I do think Queens is going to see an uptick in tourism and a lot of it is due to the Chinese market and Chinese travelers. The word is out about Queens in China. They’ve opened up their economy and they have a large middle class that wants to travel. Flushing specifically is behind Orlando as a major travel destination. The quality of our hotels, restaurants and culture is so high it’s above politics. Queens is above politics.”
NYC & Company announced a new international communications and marketing campaign titled “New York City – Welcoming the World.” Starting in March, the campaign will target major sources of international tourist, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, and Spain.
The goal of the campaign is to reassure international travelers who may feel anxious about traveling to the United States and ensure them that New York City’s values remain the same and all are welcome.
“We’re a place that welcomes everybody,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said. “It’s in our values and in our economic interest. 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.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart