Reason Behind US Tourism Sector Decline
8 mins read

Reason Behind US Tourism Sector Decline

The United States of America is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. Whether you love beaches or mountains or both or party places or anything else, the country offers several types of unique offerings that makes it one of the best tourist destinations in the world.

But, in recent times have you heard anything about US Tourism? Well, the rumours about decline of tourism in the US is sadly true and there are several reasons that are responsible for the same. In 2023, there were around 64 million international tourists in the US, which is only 84% of the people that visited the US in 2019. The rank of US in the top travel markets is 17th which is much below France, Turkey, and many such destinations that have opened their tourism portals recently. In this blog, let’s find out some of the major reasons why there is a sudden decline in US Tourism, even after 3 years of pandemic.

COVID 19 Pandemic

The end of 2019 began on a dreadful note when slowly the Corona virus started spreading its wings from China to different parts of the world. The time from 2020-2022 was under the umbrella of Covid 19 pandemic when the whole world came to a stop. All industries and businesses were shut down which led to a severe economical blow to all countries of the world. While other sectors may have come to a halt only for a while during the pandemic, it is only the tourism sector that was completely shut down for more than a year. Most people were dreaded to travel to any destinations. Also, there were so many travel restrictions and shortage of travel resources that became a major reason for the decline in the Tourism Sector around the world and also in the US.

Today after around 3 years of pandemic, the tourism industry is functional in the US but it is in the news for becoming a declining market. Most tourist destinations around the world have recovered from the pandemic blow already and their tourism is booming slowly but the story in the United States is different. The United Nations agency reported an increase of international travellers around the world to be 6% while there is a 1.7% decrease in the international tourists only in the US. So, the Covid 19 pandemic caused a bad hit to US tourism, but the above data shows that there are several other reasons for the decline.

Travel Ban during Trump’s Rule

We all know one of the major reason for decline of tourism in the US is the travel ban imposed by the former US President Donald Trump. Though the ban was against certain Muslim-majority countries but it is impacted the overall tourism in the US. However, the current US President is significantly trying to improve the tourism in the US by undoing all the travel ban and other controversial policies laid down by Donald Trump but the tourism decline will take some time to recover completely as there are multiple factors involved here.

Economic Downturn

Another important reason for the decline in tourism in the US and the whole world is because there was significant decrease in the economy around the world from 2020 due to the pandemic. If we consider from an individual’s perspective, most people have suffered losses in their business and several other losses during the pandemic. Hence, this economic downturn has impacted the overall tourism industry including in the US. It will take some time for the international tourists to begin their expedition to explore the US and slowly the tourism in the country will boom.

The US Government’s Oversight

Another big reason for a declining tourism in the US is the lack of focus of the US government on the tourism aspects of the country. Most countries that are doing great in tourism have dedicated tourism ministers who take responsibility to promote and facilitate tourism in their country. However, in the US there is only a position of an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism which is empty and not funded by the US Government.

It is high time that the US government realises their loopholes and creates great tourism opportunities just like it was before the pandemic. Today the Tourism Industry is booming worldwide and the US is already an international brand for tourism. However, the metrics for safety, violence, and crime among tourists is high in the US which has become a big concern for the tourists to travel to the US. The government’s oversight for the above issues may not help with tourism in the US so it’s a big wakeup call for them to pull up their socks and address the declining tourism in the country.

Extended Visa Wait Times

Today when travellers can visit so many exotic destinations by opting for easy visa processes or just visa-on-arrival facilities, the US government is still popular for huge queues and wait times for visas. The US has very strict visa policies that make it difficult for the tourists to enter the country. It is always better to go for a trip to places where tourists can get a visa easily without waiting for a long time. Today, the US only allows tourists from 42 countries to travel without a visa, contrary to the UK government who allows visitors from 102 countries for visa-free travel.

According to some reports, the wait times for the US visa interview can go up to 400 days on an average. If the US government fails to work on the extended waiting times, they may lose out on 39 million tourists and around $150 billion in the next 10 years. If the wait time for US visas are reduced then around 2.4 million more visitors may enter the US land next year.

Outdated Airport Screening Technologies

It might come as a shock to you but the US government is functioning on outdated airport screen technologies. It is important for the US to switch to new technologies at the security checkpoints and replace them with upgraded screening machines to boost the declining tourism market in the country. With the outdated screening and other technologies at the airport, it has cost the economy of the country $7.4 billion annually. So, it’s high time that the US government takes major steps to install updated technologies inside the US airports to facilitate more tourism in the country.

Reduction in Chinese Tourists

According to the reports, 3 million Chinese tourists used to travel to the US every year before the pandemic; hence, it is one of the main reasons that the US tourism sector is declining. Some reports say, there is an annual loss of over $20 million to the US tourism sector because of the decline in the number of Chinese tourists. The maximum fall of tourism in the US is seen mostly in San Francisco where more than 1.2 million. However, the good news is that now China is lifting it’s restrictions of group travel to the United States which will be great boost to the declining US Tourism. Since, Chinese tourists contributes to a significant portion of the US Tourism, the lifting of restrictions by China improve the country’s tourism.

The above factors are found to be some of the major reasons behind the declining tourism market in the US. But the best part is slowly things are getting better and tourism is improving, just in few years you may see the tourism in the US getting back on track.

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