Beverly Hills businesses notice fewer tourists from Middle East since travel ban

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Attracting tourists is the name of the game in what has always been known as the shopping Mecca of the world - Beverly Hills.

Experts say there is a shift in international travel affecting what those businesses rely on: shoppers.

There are growing concerns, however, that shoppers are slowing from parts of the world affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau, Julie Wagner said, "The travel ban is probably responsible for seeing the nature of the type of business we get from the Middle East shifting."

The visitors bureau worked on an economic impact and visitor profile study in 2016 and halfway through the year, research pinpointed a drop in international travel - from 63 percent to 50 percent. That dip put the number of international and domestic travelers nearly even.

The travel ban restrictions affect countries including Syria, Iran, Libya, and Yemen.

Wagner says hotels were concerned because the summer is usually heavily populated with Middle Eastern business. And they noticed a reduction in the size of families checking in.

"A lot of families that come in have staff that work for them and those countries that have the travel ban are sometimes where there are staff and their employees come from." says Wagner.

Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse is pushing to reinvent her city to make it more of an experience and an even more inclusive attraction for anyone inside or outside of the United States.

She wants shoppers and anyone dining out to know they can come to her city and enjoy nightlife with what she calls a BOLD plan: "Beverly Hills Open Later Days."

The CEO and President of the Chamber of Commerce, Todd Johnson agrees. "The holiday celebrations are going to come up over the next couple of weeks and it will be up through December and it should be prove to be extremely big. So the businesses are investing time and money to stay open later."

Only time and more research will tell how businesses will be affected while the travel ban remains in place.
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