The last year or so has been a pretty interesting one as far as travel to the U.S. is concerned. To sum things up, international tourism around the world is booming – but not to the U.S. Through the first seven months of 2017, U.S. tourism fell by four percent (a bigger number than it sounds like when you consider the astronomical economic impact of tourism), and there’s no real indication things are ticking up just yet.
People will debate to no end the cause of this lull. But regardless of your personal political opinions it’s fair to say the new presidential administration has some sway over things. President Trump and his political allies have established an “America First” isolationist policy agenda that in numerous ways may have made the U.S. less appealing to international travelers. This explains at least to some degree why U.S. visits are in a lull despite international tourism being up. But if you’re an American wondering about local tourism, or you’re from outside the U.S. and looking to visit, there’s reason to be optimistic looking ahead.
The easy thing would be to suggest that in 2020 Trump could be voted out of office and, depending on the new president’s agenda, interest in the U.S. could tick up naturally. Even beyond the politics though there are actually some very sound reasons to expect a U.S. tourism boom in the 2020s. We’ll go over a few of them here.
No one can forecast economic conditions with certainty. A shift in the U.S. congress later this year could result in altered economic policy, for instance, and an unforeseen market crash can always change the landscape dramatically. That said, some forecasts for the near future indicate a financial situation that could set up tourism beautifully. Basically, the U.S. economy is expected to thrive for another year or two (making the country more appealing in general), with growth and economic performance tapering off by 2020. That basically means the country is set up to grow and advance, but then start becoming a little bit cheaper – a perfect combination for prospective 2020s tourists.
Looming Casino Activity
Right now some interesting things are happening on the real money gaming front in the U.S. There’s a major push for legalized sports betting, led in part by the NBA. And at this point, even the CEO of MGM is confident the Supreme Court will legalize sports betting, setting up widespread gaming activity. This could then pave the way for more open-minded gaming legislation, which means there’s some potential for heightened casino activity throughout the U.S. If this happens in the coming years, it will simply mean more attractions for tourists to enjoy – and specifically attractions they’ve never really associated with the U.S. before (beyond Vegas).
A World Cup Bid
The U.S. has also put in a bid for the 2026 World Cup, alongside Canada and Mexico. Joint bids aren’t particularly popular these days, and for what it’s worth (probably not much), ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently endorsed Morocco over the North American countries. But many see the U.S. as the favorite for the bid, which would mean one of the biggest events in the world is coming to America in the middle of the 2020s. The build-up to the tournament, and the games themselves, would be major tourism boons.
Finally, the politics are worth considering as well. We don’t want to make it the main focus here, but it’s a simple fact that a new administration could be in place by 2020, and definitely will be by 2024. If indeed the policies and rhetoric of the current administration are deterring tourism, that effect could disappear in a matter of years and allow for a naturally return to normalcy.