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Hitting back at the belligerent elephant next door

"Our annual (local) travel issue was never more significant."

World-wide travel generally is experiencing a boom—a seven per cent hike last year.

But American President Donald Trump’s persistent bellicosity—and, most significantly, the “Muslim ban” last year, resulted in an approximately four per cent decrease in foreign visitor travel to the United States in 2017—so that then becomes an 11 per cent deficiency, resulting in $4.6 billion in lost spending and 40,000 lost jobs.

Mexico is the second biggest market for US tourism behind Canada. After the appalling insults Mexicans endured during the 2016 election, travel to the US from that country dropped 9.4 per cent...

Yet, Canadian visitation was actually up by more than four per cent, puzzling analysts. Do Canadians not care about rampant lies, foul pointless attacks, misogyny, racism and islamophobia? Currency exchange seems to be the only real influence on US-bound travel from Canada. Google reported Canadians seemed to tire of searching “American boycott” but “exchange rate” continued to be searched.

There is a reasonable explanation for the discrepancy. Canadians live next to the border. Canadians own vacation properties in the southern US. Canadians have relatives and friends and business interests in the States.

But since the G7 fiasco, the hurtful tariffs, the preposterous assertion that we present a national security threat, the contemptable attack on our prime minister and the puerile name-calling—relations with our “American friends” have worsened considerably. Slightly more than 40 per cent of Americans support Trump’s loathsome policies.

Editorial opinions, letters to the editor, talk show comments and anecdotal evidence all suggest Canadians are plotting revenge—boycott American-made goods and services, buy local, vacation in your own spectacular country.

But actually, only the last one has any real legs. We should all be buying local when feasible, but it’s next to impossible to differentiate (or even avoid) American-sourced goods and services. Our economies are just too intertwined, and people will soon tire of the effort.

California wines are a natural target—but wait a minute: California is firmly anti-Trump. Their wines are already being boycotted by red ball-capped rednecks protesting California’s empathy toward asylum seekers and immigrants generally.

A travel boycott seems likely to be the only logical option. Canadians can vacation at home and contribute to their own economy.

~ Linda & Jim Gourlay
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