Life is good in American tourism hubs, despite travel restrictions

Tourism forecasts and the success of those areas where they offer special deals mean that life is good for visitors after Donald Trump’s crackdown

In tourism-rich New York City, a cocktail at the Otium Hotel by chef José Andrés is always a plus. The hotel is part of a lobbying effort to persuade Donald Trump to reverse his travel ban.

In Havana, a cocktail at the Borgata Hotel’s Treasure Island cigar bar may also earn rewards points, since it costs $5 (£3.60).

The decision to reimpose travel restrictions, enforced at the end of January, is yet to have an impact, however, because a ban on staying more than 90 days at a Cuban-based company, is in place only in official diplomatic cities such as Washington. Still, Cuba’s president, Raul Castro, is trying to attract back US visitors, with a new package that cuts the price of a single-night stay in Havana hotels to $50.

Most owners are joining in the effort, with most also offering additional discounts for American travelers.

But in places where they are now being supported by the US government, the effect is different. In Washington, airfares to the country are now only $70 per night. Some hotels, such as the historic Dupont Circle Marriott, are offering special deals. All state government offices have taken steps to increase the diversity of American visitors.

Hotels near the newly opened waterfront in New York are offering deals on rooms, including spending in Washington. Photograph: ProPublica/Getty Images

In California, a crackdown by Trump’s government has been followed by a new marketing campaign. This week, the California Office of Tourism launched a new state website, travelcalifornia.com.

The administration has also scrapped the federal program that capped the number of US visas given to low-skilled workers, saving California officials $1bn each year.

“More than 3 million people could potentially benefit from this freeze”, Jackie Goldberg, who chairs the California Travel Commission, told the Los Angeles Times.

“A majority of them are US citizens who have been working in jobs that are based on their skill level, pay and training.”

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