WASHINGTON - The number of international visitors to the United States through June fell sharply from last year, according to government data released Wednesday.
And the number of business travelers fell by much more than the drop in tourists, according to the monthly report from the Commerce Departments National Travel and Tourism Office.
Total foreign visitors fell four percent compared to the first six months of last year, with travelers from Mexico down more than nine percent and from Britain down six percent, but visits from Canada up nearly five percent.
Excluding Canada and Mexico, overseas visitors fell nearly six percent, but business travel dropped nearly nine percent compared to a 5.6 percent decline in tourists.
President Donald Trump in his first year in office repeatedly promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and has ordered bans on visitors from several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Visits from the Middle East plunged 30 percent in the first half of the year, and from Africa dropped 27 percent. There also were double-digit declines in visitors from South and Central America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.
Among the top 20 countries with the most visitors, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and India saw travelers fall well over 10 percent.
In contrast, arrivals from South Korea jumped 18 percent, while Ireland saw a 4.7 percent increase, Italy was up 4.2 percent, Spain 3.5 percent and France 1.5 percent, according to the monthly data.