The societal corrosion wrought by the Trump Administration isn’t confined to the domestic front — it extends to the realm of the United States’ relationships with other countries.
A strikingly tangible manifestation of this corrosion has been reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which states, as reported upon by the New York Times, that travel to the United States from other countries was down during the first part of this year.
Of course the Commerce Department isn’t going to pin blame for the travel slump on the president, but that’s okay, because we can just as well. It doesn’t take rocket science to connect the president’s raving “America First” mentality to a decline in foreign interest in our country.
As Adam Sacks, the president of Tourism Economics, put it:
‘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 numbers are pretty much down across the board when looking at data from just the first three months of 2017; when adding in April, the picture improves slightly but not enough to do away with the estimated $1.7 billion loss to the U.S. economy calculated by Sacks’ organization.
For the first four months of the year, the total number of travelers to the U.S. from Great Britain dropped by 6.9 percent compared to 2016, and the total number of travelers from Mexico dropped by 4.9 percent. The overall drop in foreign travelers to the U.S. was kept from going too far off the deep end by a 7.8 percent uptick in travelers from Canada during the first four months of this year.
Canadians no doubt simply feel significantly less threatened by the Trump Administration than Mexicans do, and rightfully so — it’s not as though the president has threatened to deport all Canadian immigrants or build a wall along the entire U.S./ Canada border.
Considering just the first three months of 2017, international travel to the U.S. was down 4.2 percent — considering the first four months of the year makes that percentage drop to 1.2 percent.
Interestingly, some in the travel industry — like Leigh Barnes, regional director for Intrepid Travel — are prepared to take matters into their own hands.
In an email, Barnes commented:
‘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.’
Barnes’ company saw a 24 percent decrease in overseas bookings to the U.S. made year-to-date compared with this same period last year — and it’s hardly as though the American president stands for any of those things Barnes mentioned, so she’s on the right track.
Strikingly, the forces keeping some foreigners away from the United States don’t end with the simple corrosive nature of the president’s rhetoric — some are legitimately left concerned for their safety. For instance, the nations of Great Britain and New Zealand — among others — have issued advisories to their citizens about the risk of terror attacks in the U.S. Untold numbers of other foreigners have been left afraid thanks to some aspect of their identity of facing hostility in Trump’s America.
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