Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 20.
While most people concerned about Donald Trump's relationship with Mexico focus on issues ranging from deporting illegal immigrants to building a border wall and dismantling the North American Free Trade Agreement, Arik Kislin, the New York City-based founder and co-owner of the Gansevoort Hotel Group, is wary of the ski resort effect.
That's because a prime U.S. attraction for Mexican tourists are the Rocky Mountain ski areas owned by companies including Vail Resorts (MTN) , which said on a recent earnings call that many of its foreign tourists come primarily from Mexico and Australia.
"If certain countries or populations are targeted with new negative U.S. policies they might be reluctant or more hesitant to spend their hard-earned money on U.S. soil or in properties owned by U.S. owners," said Kislin, whose company operates and develops luxury hotel properties in New York, Turks and Caicos islands and the Dominican Republic.
Since hitting the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly told supporters that when he takes office he will force Mexico to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep out criminals and "rapists." Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has vowed that Mexico won't pay for a wall.
Early in December, Mexican dance group Grupo Folklorico - made up of middle- and high-school children from Instituto Blaise Pascale in Oaxaca - cancelled a scheduled April trip to Palo Alto, Calif., due to "the socio-political situation in the U.S.A." Too many parents were fearful of sending their children to the U.S. under a Trump presidency, the dance group told the Huffington Post last month.
Kislin said - "while not taking sides" - that the Trump administration, with its "more negative rhetoric" concerning minorities, will likely lead to more cancellations from tourist groups like Grupo Folklorico.
"It is sad that politics and government transition might negatively affect the U.S. tourism industry, which is the largest in the world," Kislin said. However, he did say that Trump should be given a chance to govern before conclusions are made on the matter.
To be sure, Park City CEO Bill Malone said in a December interview with TheStreet that he doubts Trump will have a negative effect on Mexican tourism. Utah-based Park City mountain resort is one of Vail's owned properties.
Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tyler Batory and Macquarie analyst Matthew Brooks agreed with Malone, saying that Mexican travelers coming to Vail's ski resorts are from a wealthier demographic than the citizens targeted by Trump.
Still, "at a certain point nationalism and self-pride and pride of country does apply," Kislin said.
"From a financial point of view, it's more likely that tourism from Mexico will be dampened due to the continuing increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar than from a proposed wall," said Kyle McCauley, managing partner of financial services firm City Center Financial.
Batory argued Vail will even be safe from the rising strength of the dollar against the peso because of its recent $1.06 billion purchase of Canada's Whistler Blackcomb and its $136 million buyout of Australia's Perisher.
Shares of Vail fell two cents to $162.69 on Thursday.