Pay Up, Trump President Donald Trump owes New York City upwards of $600 million.
No, this isn’t about some real estate lawsuit or even the cost of securing Trump Tower. This is about reparations for the Trump Slump, which is what some industry experts are calling his negative impact on U.S. tourism.
Between his travel ban, his electronics ban on certain Middle Eastern carriers and a stricter visa application process—which even scrutinizes the social media history of some U.S.-bound travelers—and his rhetoric on Twitter, Trump has made the U.S. a very unwelcoming place for international travelers.
And it’s costing us.
In early March travel analysts at Forward Keys (which tracks 16 million airline bookings a day) reported that international bookings to the U.S. were down 6.5 percent compared with last year—and it’s not just people from Middle Eastern countries who are skipping the United States. In March, airfare search site Hopper reported that flight bookings and searches to the U.S. were down about 10 percent, with 102 of 122 origin countries showing declines.
About 38% of corporate travel professionals in Europe say they are avoiding the U.S., according to a survey the Global Business Travel Association conducted in March. And in only a single week following ban’s announcement, business travel declined by nearly $185 million.
"We've done surveys after terrorism events, when there were high fuel prices, SARS and Ebola outbreaks. This is unlike anything we've ever seen before," executive director Mike McCormick told CNN.
Even Canada’s largest school board, Toronto District School Board, has barred all future field trips to the United States because of concerns that some students could get caught up in the travel ban.
New York City is the U.S. destination most visited by foreign travelers. While the city had expected a 400,000 increase in foreign visitors this year, it now expects a 300,000 decline, according to the firm Tourism Economics.
This is particularly troubling because New York’s foreign visitors spend four times as much as domestic visitors. The city predicts it will lose up to $600 million in international tourism spending this year alone.
It’s hoping to combat that with a $3.5 million ad campaign in foreign markets. But the blow has already been felt.
Thus, President Trump should take personal responsibility for his negative impact on both the travel industry and New York City’s economy—in the form of reparations to the city and those people whose livelihoods are being diminished by his actions.