NEW YORK (AP) — Last winter, the U.S. tourism industry fretted that Trump administration policies might lead to a “Trump slump” in travel.
But those fears may have been premature. International arrivals and travel-related spending are up in 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.
There might even be a “Trump bump,” says Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit representing the travel industry.
A few months ago, Dow and others warned that President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and ban on travel from a handful of mostly Muslim countries could send an anti-tourism message.
Most Read Stories
But “impending doom hasn’t manifested itself,” Dow said in an interview. “Right now we cannot identify a loss. It’s contrary to everything we’ve heard, but travel is in slightly better shape than it was a year ago. Everyone wants me to tell the story of the sky is falling, but for the travel industry, the sky is not falling.”
Latest numbers from the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index showed 6.6 percent growth in international travel to the U.S. in April and 5 percent growth in May compared with the same months last year. The Travel Trends Index uses hotel, airline and U.S. government data.
Individual sectors have good news, too. Hotel occupancy for the first five months of 2017 was “higher than it has ever been before,” said Jan Freitag, senior vice president with STR, which tracks hotel industry data. American Express Meetings & Events has “not seen a slowdown in either domestic U.S. meetings or international meetings from the U.S. in the past six months,” according to senior vice president Issa Jouaneh. Even New York’s National September 11 Memorial and Museum has more international visitors: 554,381 at the museum Jan. 1-July 11, up from 517,539 the same period last year.
Florida’s Orlando International Airport, a…