There’s Been A Dramatic Drop In Flight Searches To The U.S. Since The Inauguration, And It’s A Big Deal

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Calling Donald Drumpf a radical isn’t a particularly radical a thing to do. His policies play into a rote fear that many people feel (whether that fear is founded in reality or fantasy is a conversation for another post). As with all radical actors on the world stage, blowback is going to be massive and hit a whole swath of industries.

Current reports coming in from travel website Cheapflights have shown a sharp decrease in flight searches to the United States and travelers are canceling their trips to the USA in record numbers. Boycotts have been launched around the globe. Worth noting: This is not good.

Cheapflights reports that there’s been a 25 percent decrease in searches for trips to the USA from the UK. That number may not sound alarming at first. It should. The USA is massively reliant on tourism across most sectors and the UK is a big part of that pie. Surely, this is a harbinger of a trend — Thailand is already celebrating their expected influx of tourists.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, we make an insane amount of money and employ millions from travel to the USA. Here are a few highlights:

  • Tourists spend $108.1 million an hour in the USA.
  • Tourists spend $2.1 trillion in the USA every year, half of which goes to secondary small businesses like bars, restaurants, theaters, and so on.
  • All of this generates $147.9 billion in annual tax revenue at the city, state, and federal levels.
  • Travel ranks as the seventh largest industry in the USA.

Granted these figures represent domestic travelers as well as international ones. If you just look at international travelers, they still supported 1.1 million jobs and $28.4 billion in wages in 2015 alone. And in a divided America, will we see less internal travel, too? Almost certainly.

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Boycotting travel to a certain country because of their political actions is a tough choice to make. Do you ice the country out and allow all the fascist and nationalist voices to be proven right — but at least you won’t be spending your money there and fueling the regime? Or do you go more to these places and become the example that their fears of the ‘other’ are bombastically misguided?

Hell, you can even ponder if travel in-and-of-itself should ever be tainted by these sort of things. After all most of us look at travel as an escape, not a political statement. And therein lies the rub. We vote with our dollars and voting with dollars in the Drumpf era may be the most effective form of resistance.

Naturally, people have gone to Twitter to share their boycott intentions. It’ll be interesting to see if the tourism sector mobilizes to help repair our quickly-tarnished image, or if the boycotts spread enough to make big impact.

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(Via The Guardian)