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Business & Economy

Trump's travel ban could hurt LA's tourism industry




Tourists walk past the TCL Chinese Theater, formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theater and Mann's Chinese Theater, on August 7, 2013 along Hollywood Boulevard.
Tourists walk past the TCL Chinese Theater, formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theater and Mann's Chinese Theater, on August 7, 2013 along Hollywood Boulevard.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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Los Angeles' tourism industry could take a big hit from President Trump's newly revised travel ban.

L.A. might see 300,000 fewer international visitors in 2017, about a 3 to 4 percent drop from expectations, said Don Skeoch, chief marketing officer of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. That drop would result in an estimated loss of $220 million in international visitor spending through 2017, affecting hundreds of thousands of people whose jobs rely on tourism, Skeoch said.

"To us, that is very substantial," he said. "I think this is about consumer sentiment and how people feel about the United States."

The ban only stops refugees and citizens from six countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, but tourism experts say international travelers from other nations are watching the news and taking away that they, too, are not welcome in the U.S.

The damage to tourism revenues could grow beyond 2017 because many visitors planning to take a trip later this year or next are scheduling their trips now.

"What we can see is booking searches for future travel," Skeoch said. "That's where we see numbers that are dropping by 20 and 30 percent."

Dramatic drops in interest of traveling to L.A. have been seen from people planning vacations in Mexico and Canada — two of the top three countries from which most of L.A.'s tourists come, according to the tourism board. Interest from China, the other country, has stayed steady despite news of the ban, Skeoch said.

"The world is watching as this revised travel ban is put into place," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement to KPCC. "This travel ban not only runs counter to American values and fails to make us safer, it poses a serious threat to our economic security."

New York City already announced a $3 million marketing campaign aimed at welcoming international visitors, and Skeoch said the tourism board will be developing a plan in the coming weeks to target key international markets.

"We are reaching out to [tourists]," he said, "to reassure them that this is the same, diverse, welcoming destination to travel to."