US ranked ‘unfriendly’ to tourists

Written by Staff Writer

(CNN) — Could US tourism be the next area of US foreign policy to heal?

A report released Tuesday by Los Angeles-based Save the Tourist Industry and The Global Advisory Network gives a mixed report on economic impact: Haiti and Nepal are posting double-digit growth after receiving sizable US visitor remittances last year.

Other nations gaining inbound travel from the United States since 2016 are India, China, and the Czech Republic, with Taiwan and South Korea gaining inbound traffic in the past three years.

Tourism: Two wrongs never make a right

Yet for North Korea and Venezuela — two nations whose regions the State Department advised against travel to — tourism continues to decline.

Also, the countries experiencing impressive rate of growth have both been mired in upheaval, upheaval which precipitated the drawdown in US tourism years ago. Nepal, though politically stable, has been battling with recent Nepal’s first series of years of civil war since the insurgency before 2001.

And if the grim news is discouraging, there’s some good news on the horizon: the number of countries reporting lower US tourism last year shows a slight improvement since the tumultuous presidential campaign in 2016.

Cultural loss

“While there was a dip in tourism numbers around the election in 2016, it has since improved, registering a gain in 2018,” explained Jennie Young, president of Save the Tourist Industry.

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The annual report breaks down US tourism. Based on government data, it shows which countries will continue to be magnets for US visitors.

Orchestrated travel groups have in the past used these data to track the rate of tourism as a way to see potential tourism destinations on an international level.

The present report tracks more than 1,000 countries — specifically those that have a subscription with Save the Tourist Industry to maintain data. It shows the rates of growth and decreases by the source country — on average for the entire world. The data on the number of US visitors is based on US government data.

Two heavyweights remain at the bottom of the list: The Dominican Republic and Zimbabwe. The Dominican Republic was two to five years away from experiencing a statistically significant tourism growth last year.

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