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How the President-Elect May Impact Travel in 2017
A primer on how Trump could affect tourism in the year ahead.
From international travel to the U.S. to outbound tourism, here's how travel could change at home and abroad under a Trump presidency.(Getty Images)
President-elect Donald Trump has put a spotlight on tourism, with some international jet-setters stating they will stay away from the U.S. And across the country, some travelers have indicated they might be less likely to travel abroad in light of an anti-Trump sentiment that could paint every American with the same brush. But what will actually drive travel is tied more to currency fluctuations than who is sitting in the White House. Here's a primer on how travel could be affected in the new year.
The Strength of the Economy Could Impact International Travel
The U.S. dollar's strength has hit a 13-year high and is projected to continue to increase in value according to many analysts. If the strength of the dollar continues to climb, this could translate to Americans deciding to travel more, increasing overall outbound tourism. Expect to see a surge in demand for a number of destinations where the exchange rate is advantageous against the U.S. dollar. Countries like Mexico, where millions of Americans travel every year, can expect that demand to continue and grow in 2017. Currently, $1 U.S. dollar equals roughly 20 Mexican pesos, making a traditional value destination an even greater bargain. The rhetoric espoused during the campaign will likely have no impact on the desire of Americans to travel to Mexico's beautiful beach towns and colonial cities.
Plus, the U.K. and other destinations across Europe are on sale for Americans interested in traveling across the pond, with Eastern European countries providing the greatest bang for your buck thanks to the high value of the U.S. dollar against the pound and the euro, respectively.
International Travel to the U.S. Could Decline
Inbound travel to the U.S. is seemingly taking a hit, with some experts pointing to Trump's rhetoric during the campaign as a top deterrent for foreign visitors. The key driver of any drop in potential visitors will be the value of the dollar, as making a trip to the U.S. is far more expensive than it was years ago; that cost has risen by as much as 40 percent, depending on the currency in the country of origin for that traveler. Just as the world has gotten far cheaper for Americans, the U.S. has become far more expensive for those who were considering a trip here, making other vacation options, especially trips to places in the eurozone, a better value.
The biggest decline could be from travelers from Muslim countries who may avoid traveling to the U.S. based on the threat of a registry or enhanced screening upon arrival. Flight searches for the U.S. from Arab countries in the 14 days following the election are down 70 percent according to data from flight booking site CheapFlightsFinder.com.
A Growing Chinese Economy Could Impact Travel to the U.S.
Despite the heightened trade talk, visitors from China will likely continue to come to the U.S. in larger and larger numbers, as the Chinese yuan hasn't dropped as much as many other currencies. This keeps the U.S. relatively affordable for China's more than 100 million outbound travelers. Talk of a trade war could impact this if Trump makes policy changes, but for now, many analysts agree it's outbound tourism to the U.S. should continue to grow in the near-term.
America's Future Infrastructure Plans Could Impact Tourism
Trump has stated he wants to spend $1 trillion on building America's infrastructure, a direct boom to tourism spending and travel. If infrastructure projects come to fruition, this could bolster job growth, benefit the U.S. economy and result in new airports, roads and bridges. However, experts agree that while this change is beneficial for Americans and visitors to the country, it's unlikely any change will be quick.
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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