Despite Restrictions, Travel to the U.S. Grows

Despite fears the Trump travel ban would hurt tourism, the number of travelers visiting the U.S. is up.

International arrivals in May were 5.2 percent higher year over year. In April they were 6.6 percent higher than a year earlier.

“There is widespread talk of daunting challenges to the US travel market—perception of the country abroad is mentioned most, but the strong dollar and slowing global economy are ­factors as well—yet the resilience of our sector continues to ­astound,” said U.S. Travel Association president and chief executive Roger Dow.

The surprising statistics were contained in a report compiled jointly by U.S. Travel Association and Oxford Economics.

“Tourism marketing efforts at the federal, state and local level undoubtedly deserve a large ­measure of credit, and policymakers need to be aware of the large dividends these programs are paying for economic activity, jobs and tax revenues,” Dow added.

Meantime, Emirates and Turkish Airlines are the latest carriers to have been exempted from an American ban on laptops and other electronic devices in passenger cabins on U.S-bound flights. Turkey and United Arab Emirates were among eight predominantly Muslim countries with such restrictions, which were imposed in March. They came after intelligence reports indicated Islamic State militants were attempting to hide explosive devices in lithium batteries in electronic devices.

A spokesman for U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Emirates had introduced more rigorous screening procedures at Abu Dhabi International Airport, as had Turkish Airlines at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. Another airline based at Abu Dhabi airport, Etihad Airlines, was also approved.

The lifting of the laptop ban for these airlines came amid President Trump’s continuing effort to bar all visitors from countries he views as a threat.