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Trump Rhetoric And Policies Blamed For Drop In San Diego Tourism

San Diego skyline

Tourism declined 9.9% in San Diego from Q4 2016 through Q1 2017, compared to a year ago. During the same period, there was a 3.6% overall decline across San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Those three cities had had surges in foot traffic during the first nine months of 2016.

Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck attributes the overall decline in the Golden State’s three most popular destinations to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and comments on his proposed “travel ban.”

Foursquare tracks foot traffic globally by monitoring apps on millions of smartphones and websites people use at hotels, retailers, theme parks and other tourist destinations. Foursquare's findings align with other tourism analysts like ForwardKeys.

The biggest decline in travel was from the Middle East, down 37.5%. Bookings from Saudi Arabia declined 60%, according to ForwardKeys, which found some of the decline may have been due to a school break. Travel from Western Europe fell 13.6%. ForwardKeys also tracked a significant decline in flight reservations from the Middle East three months in advance, especially the seven countries named in the initial travel ban (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen).

U.S. tourism share overall declined in October by 6% year-over-year, then continued to fall, reaching 16% by the end of Q1 2017, with an average decline of 11% during the six-month period. An 11% drop in tourism could take a bite out of the U.S. economy, as tourism accounts for about 10% of U.S. gross domestic product, with a $1.7M direct and indirect impact on the economy. Asia appears to have benefited from the loss in U.S. tourism, with an uptick in business and leisure travelers, Glueck said.