Titus to Trump: End Xenophobic Policies That Threaten Our Tourism Industry

Feb 20, 2017
Press Release

February 20, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District, Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Democratic Chair of the House Travel and Tourism Caucus, sent a letter to President Donald Trump to highlight how his executive order targeting refugees and immigrants has negatively impacted Las Vegas and the U.S. economy.

There has been a 23 percent drop in travel searches for trips to Las Vegas since the ban took effect on January 27 – the second largest drop for any city in the United States, according to travel analytics firm Hopper. Nationwide, online booking agencies have seen a decline ranging from 6 to 17 percent. Below is the text of her letter:

"I am writing in regards to the executive order you signed on January 20, 2017, barring entry to the United States of visitors and refugees from seven majority-Muslim nations. I have deep concerns about its impacts beyond the focus of your actions. Initial data show that this travel ban and policies from your Administration are having a chilling effect on international tourism in the US. This has negative consequences for the economies of communities, large and small, which have spent years and millions of dollars promoting the United States as a travel destination. Last year, over 77.5 million international visitors came to our country, spending more than $246 billion. That exceeds exports of petroleum, automobiles, and agriculture products, and supports 15.1 million American jobs. 

"In recent weeks, internet flight searches to the United states from overseas have dropped 17 percent. This is not just from countries included in the executive order, which account for a very small percentage of overall international tourism, but from some of our closest allies and major trading partners, including China (down 33%), Australia (down 25%), Mexico (down 21 %), and Germany (down 20 percent). This drop is far from a seasonal adjustment, as last year during the same period we saw only a 1.7 percent decrease in flight searches.

"Actions you consider necessary to protect the homeland are pushing away allies and sending a message to the world that the United States no longer welcomes visitors. This directly hurts the economy of my District in Las Vegas and other tourist destinations around the country, from the Grand Canyon to Disney World. You have announced that you are rescinding this order and are working on a new executive order on this issue. I urge you to refrain from taking actions that project an image of xenophobia and discourage visitors from around the world to travel to the United States of America."