The Emerald City of Washington State has been quietly emerging as a major West Coast travel destination over the last few years thanks to innovative marketing and strategic positioning, but tourism officials are worried about a phenomenon they call “the Trump Slump.”
According to Travel Seattle, the official trade group of the tourism industry, 38.9 million visitors spent $2.2 billion in 2016, which benefited more than 74,000 local employees and their families. The number of day visitors grew by three percent on an annual basis, and the revenue realized by means of state and city taxes netted $718 million dollars.
Although the Seattle tourism industry is booming, industry leaders are concerned about the effect that certain policies enacted by the Trump administration could have on their business. The Trump Slump refers to the administration’s general attitude towards foreigners and the failed ban on Muslim travelers. Would-be foreign visitors are also experiencing longer lines and greater scrutiny at U.S. embassies and overseas, which are not granting as many tourist visas as they did during the Obama administration.
The immediate effects of the Trump Slump have not yet been quantified, but some business operators in the hospitality industry are concerned about protests at airports and the general sentiment by foreign visitors who vow to never return to the U.S. after being treated like suspected terrorists by customs and immigration officers at airports, seaports and land borders.
Even though international tourists only make up seven percent of total visitors in Seattle, they spend as much as 15 percent of the total revenue.