‘Unfriendly’ countries receive fewer US visitors



Image copyright Getty Images Image caption US tourism in Ireland has boomed since Donald Trump took office

The number of US tourists visiting countries that considered Trump to be a “public enemy” is going down, travel trade body ABTA has said.

It welcomed a rise in visits from elsewhere in the world amid growing confidence about the economic outlook.

The findings are based on the data of international travellers to the US, who were questioned earlier this year.

ABTA said that while 2017 saw a drop in visitors from Latin America, America still remained a priority market for travel to Europe.

The British travel association is forecasting a 4% rise in overall US visitor numbers to UK destinations this year, after a 19% rise in 2016.

The figures were in a survey of members of the ABTA, who account for nearly a third of all travel to the US, and show a mixed picture of trends, with some US visitors to Central and South America reducing their visits.

Other countries that were considered to be “unfriendly” to the US under President Donald Trump – but have become more popular as a destination – include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Australia.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, 973,000 US tourists visited last year, up from just 143,000 in 2016.

Ryan Carroll, ABTA’s Chief Executive said: “Despite headlines around Trump causing travel caution or fear of the unknown for destinations, it’s encouraging to see American visitors have a clear appreciation of their safety in Europe.”

“While the current political situation in the Middle East and Europe makes for unpredictable international headlines, the global language of travel continues to evolve to reflect changing needs.

“Our findings are clear: beyond a few countries in the US no matter the political situation overseas, America remains an overwhelmingly favourite destination for tourists around the world.

“No country can take for granted its ability to remain a popular base for travel.”

In February, ABTA advised its members to “consider the global political and social environment”, as well as the local and national political situation when travelling to America or another “iconic” destination.

The US is the most popular destination for UK travellers, second only to Spain.

Confidence in travel to North America continues to be strong, with visitors from Europe up 17% year-on-year, the ABTA report says.

Other top destinations are Canada, Australia, Mexico and Mexico and South America.

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