San Francisco television station, KRON4.com, reveals concerns that fewer international tourists may visit the city in 2017. The San Francisco Travel Association projects that growth in tourism overall has flattened with only a 2 percent increase expected over 2016 figures. The projected growth rate for international tourism is even lower at 0.03 percent. Because tourism is the number one industry in San Francisco, such flat rates could adversely effect the economy of the entire Bay area. While international tourists comprise only 23 percent of those who visit San Francisco annually, they contribute 62 percent of the income earned by tourism- and hospitality-related businesses in the Bay area.
While the modified plan’s 90-day ban on travel by residents from Syria, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, and Sudan who have not been granted US visas would be expected to have some unavoidable impact on international tourism, those bans are not the direct cause for the flat projections. In the report by Kron4.com, Joe D’Alessandro, from the San Francisco Travel Agency, cited polls conducted in top tourism markets such as England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia that indicate that the original ban, issued on January 27, 2017, was seen as an unfair policy that raised concerns about whether or not tourists would face issues when dealing with US customs while traveling.
Representatives of San Francisco’s hospitality- and tourist-related businesses and organizations have met to discuss ways to encourage international visitors to continue to come to San Francisco. The San Francisco Travel Agency is meeting with California’s State Travel Agency to explore the same issue.
However, two European visitors who were interviewed for the report, one from the Netherlands and one from Germany, firmly stated that they would not have changed their plans had they made them after the November election instead of before the election. A tourist from China expressed enthusiasm for San Francisco and a lack of concern about travel difficulties.
It remains to be seen whether the modified plan, which abandoned some forcefully stated positions, will mitigate the concerns of other international tourists. The new plan, revealed on March 6, 2017, takes effect on March 16, 2017.