BY PAT STUART APRIL 16, 2017
As travel groups watch the overall decline in foreign travel to the US following the Trump bans and the TSA announcement of exercising “extreme vetting” on foreigner arrivals, we’re wondering about what we’ll see in Park County this summer. (What is extreme vetting? The Wall Street Journal says that foreign visitors could “be pressed to turn over mobile phone contacts, social media passwords and financial records.”)
After the first ban was announced, the US saw an immediate drop of $10.8 billion in losses, and Tourism Economics estimates that this year:
- 4.3 million fewer people will come to the US
- $7.4 billion will be lost in revenue
Without reassurance from Washington as to the welcome foreign visitors will receive here, the expected losses in 2018 is worse? Given that scenario, Tourism Economics projects 6.3 million fewer tourists and $10.8 billion in losses.
Given the high percentage of Asian coming to see Yellowstone in the past few years, those figures are relevant and worrisome.
Hopper, a travel booking app (hopper.com) that tracks some 10 billion plus airfare quotes a day, says demand from China alone is down by 30% while demand in places like Ireland and New Zealand has dropped about 35 percent.
In 2016, Yellowstone Park saw 529,792 visitors enter through the East Gate. How will the decline in foreign travel affect the Park County businesses that catered to these travelers?
It’s hard to escape a conclusion that when Washington sneezes, the rest of the country catches cold.