What Foreign Tourists in New York Think of America Now

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New York City is entering its tourist season, the annual vendange that, last year, separated 12.7 million international tourists from their freshly exchanged U.S. dollars. Before the election, that number was expected to grow by some 3 percent. But, according to estimates from NYC & Company, Trump’s immigration policies, plus a relatively strong dollar, may dissuade several hundred thousand would-be travelers. The company now expects the number of international visitors to drop by 2 percent this year, to 12.4 million. Standing to lose approximately $120 million in tax revenue, the city recently jumped into action with what amounts to a “Nah, Trump doesn’t mean it” publicity campaign (tagline: “Welcoming the World”). But on an overcast Friday, as a chill wind whistled through Times Square, and Elmos and Elsas stood waiting either for a sucker or an NYPD citation, the uncertainty of world events, including the pending French election and Europe’s own populist struggles, seemed to dog even the most optimistic tourists.

Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman
Photo: Julia Rothman

*A version of this article appears in the May 1, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.

What Foreign Tourists in New York Think of America Now