Since the start of the year, fewer international travelers have come to the U.S.
Data from the U.S. Travel Association, released last week, showed that international tourist arrivals dropped steeply since the start of 2017, with the most noticeable decreases in February and March.
In this year’s first quarter, the National Travel & Tourism office reported 7.3 million arrivals from international visitors (excluding Canada and Mexico), a 7.8 percent drop from the same time period last year. The decrease continued well into July — excluding an April bump for Easter holiday travel — according to Travel Weekly.
The sharpest decrease came from travelers arriving from the Middle East. The first few months of 2017 saw a 25 percent drop in Middle Eastern arrivals. The Trump administration’s travel ban — which affected travelers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — went into effect in late January.
Visits to the U.S. from Mexican travelers also decreased this year, with a 7 percent drop in the first quarter.
Just a few months earlier in 2016, the U.S. had reported its highest number of tourist arrivals since 2000.
“Inbound travel to the U.S. already went through one ‘lost decade’ after 9/11,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “It took a sustained national policy effort to return to the pre-9/11 level of travel exports, which only happened last year. If we don’t want to give back all of that progress, the time to act is now.”
The data comes shortly after it was revealed that the international expat community no longer considers the U.S. one of the best countries to live.