By Stephen Moore
But Washington is ignoring one easy way to trim the trade deficit without new tariff threats or complicated trade deals that can take years to consummate. Get more foreigners to travel to the United States and buy things here.
I was recently visited by officials from the Visit U.S. Coalition — which is made up of owners of hotels, restaurants, airlines, amusement parks, shopping centers and so on — and they alerted me to a lost opportunity here. The number of international tourists to these shores has fallen by about seven-and-a-half-million people since 2016.
This trend didn’t start under Mr. Trump. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, the United States was the destination for about one-in-six international trips, but now we are the destination for about one-in-eight. More people travel to Spain in a year than the United States. Is that a tear rolling down Honest Abe’s cheek in his memorial.
The travel industry economists calculate that this decline has reduced foreign purchases of American goods and services by some $32 billion. They estimate about 100,000 fewer jobs have been created as a result of fewer tourists arriving from abroad.