Thursday 19 July 2018

Fewer tourists, more frisking: 13 ways Donald Trump has affected world tourism

US President Donald Trump salutes before boarding Air Force One on February 6, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump salutes before boarding Air Force One on February 6, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
TSA airport security check point. Photo: Deposit
Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser, Yellowstone
A woman walks past a mural on a restaurant wall depicting US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin greeting each other with a kiss in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Photo: PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images

Oliver Smith

One year since the world woke up to the news that Donald Trump would be US President, here's how his policies have affected world tourism.

1. The world is boycotting America

In a Telegraph Travel poll conducted in the run-up to last year’s election, 35pc of readers said they would avoid the US if Donald Trump became president.

It appears that many were good to their word. During the first five months of the year, while international travel has been growing across the rest of the world, America’s total overseas arrivals fell by 5.3pc year-on-year, while arrivals from the UK were 6.3pc down.

These figures might not sound vast, but they are significant, costing the US economy up to €158m a week, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

2. Particularly from the Middle East and Mexico

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TSA airport security check point. Photo: Deposit

The biggest fall in visitors? Given Trump’s efforts to ban citizens from Muslim-majority countries, it will be no surprise to learn that arrivals from the Middle East and Africa have plummeted, by 30.2pc  and 26.2pc, year-on-year, respectively.

Mexico’s residents also have good reason to boycott the US, and it appears they are, with a 6.1pc fall in visits.

The “Trump slump” has also been profound in Eastern Europe (arrivals from the region are down 11.9pc), South America (down 13pc), Central America (down 10pc) and the Caribbean (down 13.8pc). Only the Asian market has not seen a drop.

2017 arrivals (Jan-May), with Year-on-year pc change

  • Western Europe 4,935,656 (-2.1pc)
  • Eastern Europe 321,196 (11.9pc)
  • Asia 4,362,564 (0.0pc)
  • Middle East 336,351 (-30.2pc)
  • Africa 141,915 (-26.2pc)
  • Oceania 584,176 (-2.4pc)
  • South America 1,813,882 (-13.0pc)
  • Central America 374,813 (-10.0pc)
  • Caribbean 443,312 (-13.8pc)
  • Total 13,313,865 (-5.3pc)

3. There are more airport security checks

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In-flight WiFi. Photo: Getty

The laptop ban that affected flights in June and July has been ditched, but the trade-off is increased security checks for passengers arriving at US airports.

The introduction of new rules last month mean travellers can expect to face more questions about their trips, special screening of electronic devices, and the prospect of being asked asked to turn over their phones to prove it has not been modified for terrorist purposes.

4. But at least your money will go further

Trump’s election saw a spike in the value of the dollar, and in January €1 bought just $1.05. But its value has dipped dramatically since then, and now €1 buys more than €1.15. Just in time for a pre-Christmas break to New York or a skiing holiday in Colorado.

5. US National Parks are costlier to visit

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Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser, Yellowstone

Sweeping spending cuts to the US National Park Service, proposed by Trump for 2018, could see the closure of facilities, such as campgrounds, and the introduction of shorter opening hours.

Fewer staff will mean fewer people to help preserve some of America’s most beautiful landscapes, and many have expressed fears for the future of the 409 parks, 23 trails, scores of rivers, and iconic landmarks that the service is responsible for.

Meanwhile, entry fees are set to soar. Visitors to 17 of America’s most popular national parks - including Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone - could pay up to three times more from May.

6. Visits to the Statue of Liberty are up

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Statue liberty and Ellis Island. Photo: Deposit

One US attraction has been getting plenty of visitors since Trump’s election: the Statue of Liberty. Around 170,000 people boarded the ferry from Battery Park in Manhattan to Liberty Island in January, an 18pc year-on-year increase. February saw a 15pc rise. 

“People are definitely paying more attention,” King Bradley, a gift shop worker at the attraction, told The New York Times, who recalled seeing one visitor, a refugee worker, being moved to tears during her visit. “She said it’s sad that the statue is supposed to mean freedom and liberty but we don’t actually have that here.”

7. You can’t go to North Korea anymore

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NORTH KOREA: Traffic officer in Pyongyang, where there are no traffic lights. Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The immediate impact of Trump’s increasingly hostile war of words with Kim Jong-un? North Korea has been removed from the travel map.

Trump banned US citizens from visiting the country in June, and in August the UK Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel citing a “significant risk to British nationals”. Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs advises its citizens "to avoid non-essential travel to North Korea".

Whether trips to the country are ethical is a matter for debate, but getting there with adequate travel insurance is now impossible.

8. And South Korea is suffering

The Korean Tourism Organisation has predicted a fall in overseas arrivals of up to 27pc for 2017 thanks to the strained political climate in the region.

9. But Canada is enjoying a boom

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Moraine Lake in Banff National park. Photo: Deposit

If fewer people are visiting the US, where are they going instead? America’s neighbours, for starters. Canada, according to World Tourism Organisation figures, is anticipating a 6.7pc year-on-year increase in arrivals for 2017. To the south, Mexico is looking at a 9.9pc boom.

Other countries welcoming significantly more tourists this year - not necessarily because of Trump - include Mongolia, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Iceland and Vietnam.

More: The Canadian Bucket List: 30 things to do in Canada before you die!

10. So is Slovenia

The homeland of Melania Trump, born Melanija Knavs, has witnessed a 15pc increase in overseas arrivals this year, with some suggesting her rise to the role of First Lady is responsible.

11. Cuba is cheaper and less crowded

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Cuba is on the cusp of major change, so don't hesitate if you want to experience old Havana

A year ago Cuba could scarcely open hotels quick enough. After the Obama administration relaxed longstanding travel and trade restrictions against Cuba, the number of tourists visiting the island soared. For the first time in decades US cruise ships started docking in Havana, while scheduled flights were launched between the two countries.

That was before Trump came along and sought to reverse Obama’s stance. The result has been big discounts, with tour operators desperate to fill all those empty rooms.

12. His hotels are suffering

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Capitol Building, Washington DC

Not all of them, but those in Democratic strongholds have seen a big dip in revenue. Such has been the decline in visitors at his Manhattan property that one of its restaurants, Koi, was forced to close in April. His new Washington DC hotel, meanwhile, reported a loss of more than $1 million (£800,000) in its first two months.

13. People have been Googling holidays to 'Nambia'

Not really. Only Trump thinks Nambia is a real country. The rest of us know it’s called Namibia. It has exceptional wildlife, and the landscapes of its coastline and desert are truly stunning.

You should go.

Read more:

Air Force Trump: Inside Donald Trump's $100m Boeing 757

Telegraph.co.uk

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