Feb 02, 2017
By Chris Robinson
The world of travel is very much being impacted by the new US administration’s pronouncements. The World Travel & Tourism Council president commented on the recent travel ban, “The Executive Order issued by US President Trump on Jan. 27 banning travel to the US from seven countries for 90 days goes directly against the fundamental right of Freedom to Travel. It has created immense confusion among travellers and travel companies worldwide.”
The World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, has also expressed its deep concern and strong condemnation over the recently announced travel ban. It says the ban is contrary to the principles of freedom of travel and travel facilitation promoted by the international tourism community and will hinder the immense benefits of the tourism sector brings in terms of economic growth and job creation to many countries, including the USA.
The Secretary-General said “Global challenges demand global solutions and the security challenges that we face today should not prompt us to build new walls; on the contrary, isolationism and blind discriminatory actions will not lead to increased security, but rather to growing tensions and threats. Besides the direct impact, the image of a country which imposes travel bans in such a hostile way will surely be affected among visitors from all over the world and risk dumping travel demand to the USA.”
The value of tourism to the USA is over $246 billion which is 2.6% of the USA’s GDP. The three largest tourism source markets are China, Mexico and Canada. If the trade row with China takes off, as seems increasingly likely, the Chinese may simply turn off all inbound tourism. Clearly Mexicans are not feeling warm and fuzzy about the prospect of a wall and deportations, so they are likely to limit travel to the States. Which leaves us in Canada…. How should we react?
Here’s my take. We are closest of all other nations to the United States. We are best able to make the distinction between the uncivilized pronouncements of a rogue administration and the warmth and kindliness of the people of America. So we should not hesitate in planning our trips across the border. We should engage our hosts and seek common understanding, all the time enjoying the many wonders that America has to offer. Ultimately, fear comes from ignorance. The education that tourism offers is the most effective antidote to the dripping poison of extremism. Americans need Canadians more than ever.