Donald Trump has not accomplished anything worthwhile during the eight months he’s been living in the White House, but he has pissed off the rest of the world and insulted America’s closest allies and trading partners. It is no surprise that foreign travelers, and their nation’s leaders, have suggested not traveling to American if for no other reason than the animus raging among Trump’s America for non-white, non-religious, and non-American human beings. Of course foreigners are as terrified of the gun culture in America as they are Trump’s aggressive customs and border brownshirts, but they are also not enamored with the idea of spending their vacation dollars in a nation with a nativist dotard looking for trouble.
Back in March during the “extreme vetting” threat from the Trump White House, tourism industry experts warned there would be a heavy price to pay when foreign vacationers, and business travelers, stopped coming to America. As it turns out, those “warnings” were understated according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The new data represent just the first quarter of this year and the figures are where experts predicted they would be back in March when they worried about a “Trump slump” wreaking havoc on international travel to America. The Commerce Department data confirmed the industry’s fears and since Trump has only behaved worse since the first quarter, it is highly likely their worst fears have really yet to materialize. Whether it was embarrassing America by insulting our allies and trading partners, or terrifying the life out of the rest of the world with threats of nuclear war, there are fewer reasons for anyone to visit America today than there were in the first quarter.
According to a report in the New York Times:
“New figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show a drop in international visitors to the United States by close to 700,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. European countries were down 10.1 percent, and Mexico was off 7.1 percent in the quarter.”
It’s likely that Trump and his nativist supporters are saying good riddance – who needs international tourists? They probably wildly celebrated that there was a 7.1 percent drop in Mexican tourists coming to America. But those “Mexicans” are visiting tourists spending their hard-earned money in America; they are not immigrants. And combined with that 10.1 percent decline in international tourists, particularly those from Europe, they represent a significant loss in income for America’s tourism and hospitality businesses and the jobs they provide. Exactly as predicted back in March, analysts estimate that the “immediate decline in tourism represents a loss of $2.7 billion in spending” in America on products and services provided by American businesses employing American workers.
Although it is not easy to verify that Trump’s immigration ban, threats of a wall, animus towards non-Americans, extreme vetting, or his promise to “rough up” foreigners contributed to the $2.7 billion decline in tourism, there are results of another survey pinning the tourism decline on Trump. It is no coincidence that the new Commerce Department data tracks perfectly with the Trump-inspired decline in United States favorability around the world.
According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in June, only 49 percent of people surveyed in 37 nations had a positive view of the United States. Contrast that figure with the 64 percent “positive view” at the end of President Obama’s term in office. It is glaringly obvious that the costly slump in tourism is all down to the repugnant piece of work in the Oval Office. Add to that comparison the fact that during the first quarter of 2013 after President Obama’s re-election, international tourism increased by 6.4 percent.
According to the president of Tourism Economics, Adam Sacks:
“It’s not a reach to say the rhetoric and policies of this administration are affecting sentiment around the world, creating antipathy toward the U.S. and affecting travel behavior.”
The New York Times reported that according to the responses it received to a Facebook post on foreign travel to America, “European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding or canceling trips to the United States.”
One British respondent wrote:
“We are British Muslims and live in London. We wanted to visit N.Y.C. this summer but decided against it simply because we felt we wouldn’t be welcome there and didn’t want to waste precious holiday time in case there was a problem at passport control at the airport.”
Other European respondents cited gun violence and their personal safety as reasons for avoiding America like plague, at least until they feel they aren’t risking their lives just to visit America. A Danish woman wrote:
“I have always dreamed of visiting the US. But the rise of gun violence and political chaos has made me cancel all future travels to the U.S. until I can feel safe as a tourist.”
Various international travel experts confirmed that since January “the U.S. is falling behind” as an international tourism destination. That was the assertion by the president and chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow, whose nonprofit organization promotes foreign travel to the United States. And according to a World Economic Forum report released in April, “the United States fell two spots in its rankings of the top 10 most popular countries for tourism in the world.”
All of these statistics were predicted due to Trump’s ascension to the White House and the latest reports only covered the first quarter of 2017, and the situation is only going to get worse for the industry. Tour operators such Intrepid Travel reported that to date, they experienced reported a 24 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. However, trips to Canada are up 40 percent so it is not an economic issue, it is a political, safety and social issue. As the regional director for Intrepid Travel noted, something has to change. Leigh Barnes wrote:
“Given the current political and social climate, now is an especially important time for the travel industry to stand for open borders, inclusivity and the celebration of diversity.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what the travel industry does or says or stands for; the problem is the hate-based administration. The chance of Trump allowing open borders, inclusivity, and the celebration of diversity is less than zero. It is, after all, his and his vile supporters’ staunch opposition to diversity, inclusivity, and open borders that is killing the tourism industry.
If the predictions made in March are any indication, coupled with the first quarter statistics, it is likely that fear of Trump will certainly end up costing significantly more than the predicted $11 billion and 90,000 American jobs in his crusade to make America far too dangerous for foreign tourists to visit.