President Trump's travel ban and immigration policies could cost the US billions in lost tourist dollars, Bloomberg reports. The news came as the US is already smarting from a strong dollar that lowers exchange rates for visitors. The US can expect to see 4.3 million fewer foreign visitors this year, and a loss of the $7.4 billion they would have spent, says Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics. International tourists spent $250 billion in the US in 2016. Sacks' prediction was based on data from ForwardKeys.com that showed a 14% drop in US bookings from Western Europe between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 when compared with 2016. Mideast bookings plummeted 38%. The company says it sent its findings to the White House on March 3, prior to the release of Trump's revised travel ban.
Although a federal court halted the original Jan. 27 executive order, the travel industry has warned the action will scare away tourists. "It’s the president’s ‘America First’ rhetoric, the trade protectionism, the Mexican wall," Sacks tells Bloomberg. New York, the country's top tourist destination for overseas visitors, is expecting a 2% dip in total visitors, among them 300,000 fewer foreign travelers, costing the city about $900 million. Flight searches from the UK to Miami, the second most-visited city for overseas travelers, were down 52% last month compared to a year ago, per online booker Kayak. LA could lose 800,000 visitors, most of them from Mexico, and $736 million in revenue, the city's tourism chief tells Bloomberg. Business travel bookings are down $185 million since January, the Independent reported last week.