As the longest U.S. government shutdown in history plays out on TV commercials across the nation, it doesn’t appear tourism officials have experienced much trepidation as cruise ships begin heading back into port — perhaps they’re feeling so confident a few zeroes won’t be added to the tourism tax.
The tourism industry has made federal lawmakers and President Trump aware it will pick up the slack if the economy deals another blow. According to the Destination Marketing Organization in Washington, DC, which tracks demand for travel to the U.S., 58 percent of respondents said they didn’t plan to cancel their travel plans to the U.S. during the shutdown and nearly 84 percent said that the shortened federal government period could actually increase the appeal of the U.S. to travel and tourism professionals.
The DMO polled its 45,000 members and their clients and more than half said the partial government shutdown has at least created an opportunity for them to showcase the country to tour operators. More than two-thirds said that the reduced availability of government agencies would give them additional opportunities to showcase the U.S. to their clients.
“It’s striking how many DMOs are leveraging these events to attract more business to the U.S., including new travel and tourism clients,” the DMO said in its survey results.
Right on cue, more than 2 million tourists flocked to the U.S. in March and they came from more than 93 countries, according to DMO survey results. The U.S. added 43 new nations as destinations, with China leading the charge and “bolstering” 43 percent of arrivals, followed by Thailand with 33 percent, Germany with 26 percent and Canada with 20 percent.