Int'l arrivals to US declined slightly in September 2016

By The Associated PressMarketsAssociated Press

International arrivals to the U.S. declined slightly in September 2016 compared with September 2015, continuing a downward trend in inbound tourism that began earlier in 2016.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said Wednesday that 6.5 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. last September, down 1,675 visits from the same month in 2015.

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Overall for the first nine months of 2016, international visits declined 2 percent compared with the same period in 2015, the Commerce Department said.

Experts have said that a strong U.S. dollar and lackluster economies elsewhere have made it more expensive for travelers to vacation here, leading some to choose destinations elsewhere.

But some sectors of the travel industry fear a "Trump Slump" because of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies from President Donald Trump's administration.

It takes months for arrivals data to accurately be compiled from all U.S. international airports and border crossings, so whether the downward trend continued through the end of 2016 and into 2017 won't be known for months.

In September 2016, the top inbound markets continued to be Canada and Mexico, according to the new data, with non-resident visits from Canada growing 2.8 percent with visits from Mexico increasing 10.4 percent. Visits from China were also up, nearly 5 percent. But visits for the month from the United Kingdom were down 10 percent and visits from Japan were down nearly 9 percent compared with September 2015. Overall, visits from Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa all showed declines in the September data compared with the same month the year before.