NEW YORK - More international visitors came to the U.S. than expected in April 2017, according to a new report released Tuesday in Washington.
The U.S. Travel Association's Travel Trends Index shows that international travel to the U.S. grew by about 4 percent in April, compared with data for April 2016.
The strong showing contradicted fears that tourism from abroad would slow in reaction to President Donald Trump's proposed travel bans, which have been blocked by court challenges.
The Trump administration's first ban on travel from a handful of mostly Muslim countries was issued Jan. 27. The Travel Association said any fallout from the travel bans would have begun to show up in April travel data.
"Are we surprised by this data? The honest answer is yes,'' U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "There have been many claims that the administration's actions on travel have tarnished America's brand abroad, but we're seeing hard economic evidence of the U.S. travel sector's remarkable resilience.''
The U.S. Travel Association statistics also suggest that a slowdown in international arrivals that began in the spring of 2016 may be moderating.
Data from the U.S. Commerce Department has been showing a decline in international arrivals over the second and third quarters of last year. Those statistics take months to compile and will not reflect 2017 arrivals until next year. The government data is also more comprehensive, including, for example, border crossings by car from Canada and Mexico, which the U.S. Travel Association data does not include.
It's also not unusual for travel spending and arrivals numbers to fluctuate month to month due to seasonal tourism and other economic factors.
The Travel Trends Index is compiled in partnership with Oxford Economics, using multiple sources including hotel and airline data.
The U.S. Travel Association is a national nonprofit organization representing the travel industry, dedicated to increasing travel within and to the U.S.