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Foreign Travel to the U.S. Dropped and It Left A $2.7 Billion Hole in Consumer Spending

Foreign travel to the United States has fallen while President Donald Trump has been in office. New data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that foreign travel to the U.S. dropped 4.2% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to last year.

The largest decrease came from African and Middle Eastern countries, though these nations make up a smaller portion of foreign U.S. visitors each year. The number of foreign travelers from Mexico dropped 7.1%, while European tourists dropped 10.1%.

The decline during the first three months of 2017 translates to a $2.7 billion loss in spending by those missing visitors, according to Tourism Economics.

The firm, which provides U.S. cities with international travel predictions, reversed its 2017 forecast that foreign travel to the U.S. would grow this year and expects the country to lose as many as 6.3 million visitors by the end of the year. That’s $10.8 billion fewer dollars spent at American businesses, the firm said.

Foreign travel to the U.S. had fallen 2.4% year-over-year by the end of 2016. The drop off this year could be 8.3%.

Retailers, especially, will feel this dip, as Fortune’s Phil Wahba pointed out in March.

“The cities that will feel the biggest pinch? Gateway destinations like Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York,” he writes, “It promises to be painful. Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan, not far from Trump Tower, gets 40% of its sales from foreign shoppers.”

Readers told the New York Times that the political climate influenced their travel plans, citing concerns about interactions at the border as reasons they decided to spend holidays elsewhere.

For the sake of comparison, consider this: During the first quarter of Obama’s second term in 2013, foreign travel to the U.S. increased 6.4% and in the first three months of 2009, at the beginning of his first term and the global recession, it was down 14.3%.