Why International Travelers Are Afraid to Travel to the US

International traveler numbers to the US haven’t been able to surpass pre-pandemic numbers. In the last year, according to the US Travel Association, only 67 million international travelers reached the country. That number is down from 79 million, which came to the US in 2019. Meanwhile, other countries like France and Spain have seen their travel numbers not only recover but increase over the last few years. There are many theories as to why more international tourists aren’t making their way to the US.

The US Travel Association has actually pressured Congress to help with Visa processing, which is one of the issues they claim is limiting visitor numbers. There also seems to be a growing negative perception of the US as a whole. In short, the types of news stories that take place in the US that reach foreign media could be generating a sense of fear among travelers.

Regardless of political views, it’s undeniable that most of the news that has come out of the US in the last few years has referenced violent acts. These can be classified as shootings, police altercations, riots, and pretty much everything in between. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you come to any part of the US, your chances of being in a shooting are high.

One of the issues that foreign travelers have when discerning whether or not they’ll be in danger is that sometimes, it can be hard for them to grasp the size of the US. Some people may reconsider traveling to California for an incident that took place on the East Coast. That would be similar to canceling a trip to Spain because of the war in Ukraine. The distance between both countries is around the same as what you’ll have to cover if you travel from LA to most of the main cities on the East Coast.

It’s not just a lack of geographical knowledge, however, that’s keeping foreign tourists from the US. Recently, a reporter from the US Today mentioned that she’d run a quick investigation with foreigners. Their main reason for not traveling to the US was a sense of not feeling safe on the streets of the country. Again, while that lack of safety may be a false notion, it’s what people are feeling because of the news from the US that reaches their country. This has led to the creation of a negative reputation that’s proving hard to shake.

As mentioned, The US Travel Association has also pointed out that the wait times for US visas are another problem keeping foreigners from making US trips. Congress has promised to increase funds to improve the situation. There are also two great opportunities on the horizon for the US to clean up its image toward the rest of the world. These opportunities are going to come in the form of the World Cup in 2026 and the Olympic Games in 2028. Those two events will surely elevate the number of foreign visitors beyond the pre-pandemic numbers. It may be in 2027 or even 2029 and beyond before we truly see if the US was able to clean up its image. As travelers seemingly return without the incentive of world-class sporting events.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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