As much as dirty Donald Trump epitomizes the “ugly American” and every negative connotation that unflattering title entails, he is the personification of a very significant number of the ugly Americans the rest of the world, and no small number of decent Americans, despise.
Trump and his ugly “America first” acolytes could not possibly care less what the rest of the world, or other Americans, think of the uncivilized cretins Trump represents, but that is not the case for the highly profitable American tourism industry. In fact, exactly as predicted shortly after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, everything about Trump will be harmful to the economy and those predictions have proven accurate for many sectors of the economy. The tourism sector realized immediate economic harm.
Although much of Trump’s economic damage will not result in immediate job or business losses, that is not the case in the tourism industry. World travelers contemplating trips to America were immediately aware that Trump’s America, like Trump himself, will not be a very friendly place to visit and no-one in their right mind can blame them. Those travelers began shunning America before Trump was allowed to occupy the White House after hearing his foul mouth drone on for several months about America first.
Now, the industry is reporting that since Trump took office, as many, many experts predicted; “inbound travel dropped by 4 percent and tourist spending declined 3.3 percent.” Those percentages translate into losses of tens-of-thousands of American jobs and roughly $4.6 billion in tourism dollars spent in American communities. It is noteworthy that those tens of thousands of jobs lost do not reflect “downstream jobs” lost by people serving the 40,000-plus now-unemployed Americans, or the billions of dollars in lost wages and tourist spending driving local economies.
The National Travel and Tourism Office reported the bad economic news that they and other groups dubbed the “Trump slump.” The report said that the unnecessary slump “translated to losses of tens of thousands of jobs and $4.6 billion in spending in 2017.”According to experts, “Trump’s travel ban proposals and his anti-immigration rhetoric, and heightened security measures have worsened the U.S.’s (sic) image in other countries.”
Tourism experts knew three months into Trump’s White House occupancy that there would be Hell to pay for Trump’s ugly American rhetoric and actions. In March, Tourism Economics president, Adam Sacks, said:
“It doesn’t take very much uncertainty or antipathy to influence decisions away from a given travel destination. Ultimately, destinations and companies are in the business of building a brand and a message that is welcoming .… All the ‘America first’ rhetoric in various policy areas like trade, diplomacy and immigration is conveying the exact opposite.”
That was Mr. Sacks’ prediction in March; in September he said:
“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.”
To add insult to economic injury to America, because of one vile man’s mouth; “The U.S. slipped to No. 8 from No. 7 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Countries list released on Tuesday.” That report “attributed the drop to Trump being more unpopular than any other state head or company CEO, and to the U.S. becoming more politically unstable and less progressive and trustworthy.” All because of one man and the malcontent racists, evangelicals, xenophobes and various bigots supporting him.
In what is sure to be a failure, the U.S. Trade Association intends on embarking on a “Visit U.S.” campaign they hope will “encourage international travelers to choose the U.S.” According to Johnathan Grella, the trade association executive vice president:
“A very big portion of the coalition’s work is to promote more balanced rhetoric. We want to get to the place that the administration says we are closed for terrorism but open for business.”
Obviously, Mr. Grella has not spent any time listening to Trump or he would have realized the absurdity of expecting Trump or his administration ever being interested in, or capable of, presenting “more balanced rhetoric.” Trump and a significant percentage of the population are not only disinterested in “balanced rhetoric,” they oppose it like “the ugly Americans” they are at a very fundamental level. Still, at least one major American city and tourist destination is being proactive in touting itself as “decidedly anti-Trump.”
It is doubtful there will be a national campaign advertising that “This isn’t Trump’s America” or that “all international visitors are welcomed to visit America,” but that is precisely what Los Angeles is promoting.
Something the tourism industry might not consider is that the preponderance of prospective foreign travelers are not as concerned about running into Trump or terrorists as they are terrified of the fanatical gun zealots, radical evangelical extremists, racists, and xenophobes that support an ugly American like Trump. An equally disgusted number of prospective tourists have no interest in spending their hard-earned vacation money in a country that refuses to care for its own citizens and hates “foreigners.” And worse, foreign tourists are well aware it is dangerous to visit any nation with a government that empowers radical religious extremists to target several groups for discrimination based on their sex, gender identity, marital status, and sexual orientation.
Add to those disincentives to visit America, the concerted mindset among Trump supporters that anything not American, not English speaking, and not white is inherently evil and it should assure the tourism industry that their economic troubles are going to get much worse with or without Trump. The rest of the world is now fully cognizant that Trump’s “ugly American acolytes” make up a substantial percentage of the population and they are angry and they are not going away no matter what Trump does.
It is true that every administration can affect the economy and have an impact on international perceptions of America, but this Trump slump is a fairly new phenomenon for a couple of reasons. It was accurately predicted prior to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, the downturn in tourism was immediate and sustained, and Trump has continued unabated terrifying and insulting the rest of the world. Of course the economic damage in lost tourism is down to Trump and his vile mouth, but it cannot be overstated that the rest of the world’s population understands that without a population rife with “ugly Americans,” Donald Trump would be promoting a new reality show, not America as a tourist destination to be avoided at all costs.