NYC tourism trying to minimize damage from Trump ban

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NYC & Company, New York's travel marketing agency, has come out in harsh opposition to the Trump administration's travel ban, saying that the organization "will continue to resist impediments to international travel."

President Trump on Jan. 27 ordered a 90-day travel ban from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria), but the ban was halted by a federal judge on Feb. 4. The Trump administration is appealing the judge's ruling.

"We've worked so hard over the last however many years to make sure that the United States is seen as welcoming," said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company's president and CEO. "Great progress had been made and now we are very concerned that all of that is in jeopardy."

Fred Dixon
Fred Dixon

Dixon said that while NYC & Company does not yet have any numbers that show a slump in inbound tourism in response to Trump's ban, there are some early indicators of negative consequences.

For one, he pointed to a New York Times article indicating that New York lost a bid to host the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations in 2019 due to the ban.

Dixon also said that a popular German lifestyle magazine (he did not provide the name) had made a decision not to run any features this year about United States in defiance of the ban, and also referred to an opinion piece in the Toronto Star encouraging Canadians to boycott travel to the U.S.

Indications such as these -- on top of the challenge that a strong U.S. dollar has made the United States a harder sell for international travelers -- have Dixon concerned.

Consequently, the destination marketing organization has changed its campaign plans for 2017 in order to clearly communicate the message that "All are welcome." NYC & Company posted that message on its Facebook page last week. Further, Dixon said that the organization will communicate the message via billboard ads in other countries.

"I don't think we have a choice," said Dixon. "It wasn't our plan this year to have this messaging." But following the Trump ban and the fallout from it, "we are shifting all our messaging and assets," he added.

According to Dixon, New York city officials are in full support of NYC & Company's messaging.

While NYC & Company continues to do damage control, it will investigate ways to communicate concerns to the Trump administration about how policies such as the travel ban can hurt tourism.

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