San Francisco’s Chinatown has allegedly suffered a stunning decline in tourism, and business associations have pointed the blame at none other than President Donald Trump.
Members of small business advocacy groups think the reason for the slowdown of around 10-50 percent is Trump’s travel ban, SFGate reported Friday.
Yet, there’s major dispute about whether the perceived dip in early 2017 tourism in Chinatown is genuine or not.
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The San Francisco Travel Association says the tourism industry in that part of the Bay Area is “doing just fine.” In fact, the association estimates that in 2017, tourism in the city will result in revenues of $9.22 billion, which would constitute an increase of 3 percent from 2016. The total number of expected international visitors for 2017 is 2.9 million.
But Cynthia Yee, who operates Chinatown Ghost Tours, says the number of tourists patronizing her business has plummeted.
“My phone used to be busy all the time, especially with summer coming,” Yee said, according to SFGate. “No one calls me anymore. We used to have three or four guides out every weekend. Now, it’s just me.”
Some believe Trump is at fault for the perceived tourism decline.
Although Trump’s travel ban targeted six Muslim-majority countries because of terrorism concerns, San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations President Henry Karnilowicz said the ban has created the perception that America is no longer friendly to visitors.
“It’s not just these six countries we’re talking about, it’s everyone else who thinks, ‘America isn’t looking so friendly right now; I’d rather go to Canada or somewhere else instead,’” Karnilowicz said.
Trump’s travel ban has been hit by endless federal court proceedings, even after the White House issued a revised order on March 6, as a judge in Honolulu ruled the order “was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.”
The next hearing at a three-judge appeals court in Seattle is scheduled for May 15.
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