After only 70 days in. Donald Trump has made a change in America -- though perhaps not the way he was selling his what he'd do. It turns out that according to Travel Weekly magazine, travel to the United States is down 6.8%, on track to lose $7.4 billion, according to Bloomberg News. And yes, that's with a "b". The good news is that ForwardKeys (which analyzes travel numbers) paints a better picture -- they say the travel industry is down only 6.5%.
Lest you think that his is just a blip in the market (as if a $7.4 billion loss can be a blip), Douglas Quinby, of the travel-market firm PhocusWright, explained to the Boston Globe, “I’ll tell you quite honestly, when I saw these reports my reaction was, Oh, my god, To see a decline in search and booking volume in the 6- to 8-percent range is a profound shift.”
A significant reason for the drop (sorry, the "profound shift") is seen from the result of a survey just put out by the Global Business Travel Association, which reported that “45 percent of European business travel professionals say they are less likely to schedule meetings or events in the U.S.” The problem is the percentage the rest of the world has of the country, thanks to religious-based travel bans, efforts to build a wall on the borders, and Trump branding of "America First" and more, like reports of beating up immigrants and burning mosques and temples. And all this, Trump changing the perception of the world to America -- the land of the free, the home of the brave, 240 years in the making -- in just 70 days.
That's impressive, even by Trump standards.
The thing is, it's not just that Europeans or people from overseas don't want to come here the same as before...but our neighbors don't. And I don't just mean those to the south, where Trump has demeans Mexicans -- but from Canada, as well. Canada! The nicest people in the world. “Even white, Anglo-Saxon people, who are most of our customers, they are afraid of crossing the border,” the head of a Toronto travel agency told the Los Angeles Times. “They don’t want to end up in some prison.”
So much for "Give me your tired, your poor..."
The problem is so bad that the U.S. Travel Association felt the urgency to write a letter to Trump, virually begging that he start trying to actually help fix the bad perception he's created. "“Mr. President, please tell the world that while we’re closed to terror, we’re open for business," it began, and went on to say, " — so let’s work together to inform our friends and neighbors, who could benefit from reassurance, not just who is no longer welcome here, but who remains invited.”
And no, this isn't part of a continued downward trend that has been hitting America. In fact, during the Obama Administration, the number of international travelers went up by 50%.
And to repeat -- in just 70 days, Trump has turned that into a 6.8% drop.
Through his own divisiveness, Donald Trump has oddly been able to create the very wall he insisted he'd build to keep out others from around the world. And he didn't have to use any building materials. The bad news is that Mexico didn't pay for it, and it'll cost us $7.4 billion.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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