TAMPA (970 WFLA) -- A local tourism promotion organization is disputing claims that foreign tourists are losing interest in the United States in general, and Tampa and Florida in particular.
Liberal-leaning news sites such as The Guardian are using data from British travel sites to claim that a "Trump slump" is due to hit U.S. tourism this summer, fueled by concerns about the travel ban involving some nations, and reports of some foreign visitors being detained. The British travel site Kayak, which books airplanes and hotels, reports that searches for flights to Tampa and Orlando from the United Kingdom are down 58 percent. Searches for Las Vegas are down 36 percent, while searches for Los Angeles are down 32 percent, according to Kayak.
The marketing director for "Visit Tampa Bay" says in a statement that there are other factors at work. Patrick Harrison says they work three to six months out with British travel agencies, and they continue to see strong interest in the Tampa Bay area. Harrison points toward falling prices for resorts in southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean as possible reasons for a drop in British tourist interest in the U.S. Prices in Spain and Portugal are off about 40 percent compared with last summer.
Kayak reports prices for U.S. bound flights are holding steady, but hotel rates are down by about a third in some top U.S. destinations.