by Loren G. Edelstein | March 15, 2018
Most Americans believe international inbound travel is compatible with sound national security and important to the domestic economy, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Visit U.S. Coalition. However, a significant number of the 1,985 registered voters polled are not convinced.
The online survey, conducted Feb. 1-4 by Morning Consult, was commissioned by Visit U.S., a broad-based coalition of American industry groups that formed in January to demonstrate the value of international inbound tourism to federal lawmakers.
Just two-thirds of respondents overall are in favor of welcoming foreigners to the United States. Interestingly, 75 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 support international travel, vs. 60 percent of Trump voters. Similarly, while 75 percent of Clinton voters believe the U.S. should continue to welcome about the same or more international visitors, just 58 percent of Trump voters concur.
Results also show significant concerns regarding security. Two-thirds of respondents say international travelers do not pose a risk to national security if they are vetted and approved -- leaving one-third who do see foreign visitors as a security risk, even with proper vetting.
When informed that the U.S. share of global international travel has declined steadily since 2015, only 47 percent consider that fact a "bad thing." Furthermore, just half of respondents agree that the U.S. should actively encourage international travelers to visit.
The survey's sponsors gave a positive spin to the findings. "The message from the American people is clear: We can have strong security while welcoming lucrative, legitimate travel to the U.S.," said a Visit U.S. spokesperson. "International dollars don't just support jobs in the hospitality industry -- these long-haul visitors have an underappreciated downstream impact. From Central Park to Park City to national parks, welcoming travelers to the United States is one way we as Americans show people from all over the world what is unique and great about America."