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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Trump Slump Is Costing The U.S. Thousands Of Jobs And Billions Of Dollars In The Tourism Industry

I started traveling out of the U.S. while I was still a kid. I was just a teenager when my girlfriend and I decided to hitchhike from Long Island to the North Pole. We only got as far as Montreal... but we loved it. The following summer my pal Bob and I hitchhiked to Mexico City. Fantastic. And when I graduated from college, it was only $100 to fly to Luxembourg if you stopped for at least a night in Iceland. My girlfriend and I met a couple of teachers on the plane who were planning a week-long excursion, driving around the island and we joined them. Then we went to Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and England. The travel bug was not sated. When Margin went back to the U.S. to finish school, I set off in my VW van across Europe, adding Austria, Hungary what was then Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal to the list of countries I had been through-- before settling down in Holland for a few years-- and taking vacations in Sweden, Finland, Greece, France and Morocco. Since then I'vebeen to over 100 countries. I still love travel. Roland and I just got back from Thailand and we brought our friend David-- his first trip there-- who got attacked by a monkey who broke his shoulder and fractured a bunch of toes. Here's the culprit:

The Thai monkey that got David

The Thais are way too polite to bring up Trump. Even the ones we revery friendly with never mentioned Señor Trumpanzee. But, Thailand is crawling with Europeans who aren't polite in that way at all. Everywhere we went Europeans asked us, "How could you?" We explained to a Danish woman on a Chao Phraya water "bus" that California's results were 8,753,788 (61.73%) to 4,483,810 (31.62%) and she couldn't stop talking about how almost 4 and a half million Californians could vote for Trump. (David, who hadn't been attacked by the monkey yet, wanted to throw her into the Chao Phraya. But, generally speaking, everyone we met who wasn't a Thai, had something negative to say about Trump. It wasn't unlike-- just more intense-- than it was when Nixon and Bush were presidents. I just read that the the negative feelings in Haiti were so intense that the U.S. was U.S. had to shut down the embassy in Port-au-Prince. Trump is in Davos-- and Swiss people are protesting and letting him know he isn't welcome. "[D]emonstrators marched through the Swiss city chanting 'Trump not welcome,' with some carrying banners and placards reading 'dump the Trump' and 'Switzerland is hosting Nazis,' an AFP reporter said, putting the turnout at over 1,000." Thousand more people marched in Zurich and Lausanne... 'Trump is the incarnation of sexism, racism, exploitation and corruption,'" said one demonstrator. So what? Trump doesn't care.

But the U.S. tourism does. Travel + Leisure reported that "The United Nations World Tourism Organization announced last week that Spain overtook the United States as the second-most visited destination in the world (France remains number one) in 2017. The U.S. welcomed 72.9 million foreign visitors last year-- down about four percent from the previous year’s 75.9 million." Katherine Lugar, CEO of American Hotel & Lodging Association, pointed out that "Fewer visitors means fewer hotel stays, fewer meals eaten in our restaurants, fewer goods purchased in our retail stores, and fewer visits to our national attractions. It also means fewer American jobs and a loss to our economy."
The Pew Research Center found that unfavorable views of the U.S. in 37 countries increased 13 percent in the six months that Trump was in office. In response to a New York Times post, Europeans “overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding or canceling trips to the United States,” according to the paper.
The Trump Slump in American tourism has cost our country 40,000 jobs and $4.6 billion. The U.S. News and World Review reported on Tuesday that on their list of best countries the U.S. has slipped to the #8 spot and they attribute it to Trump. His first year in the White House rattled the world confidence. Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group explained recently that the most prominent causes for global insecurity stem from Trumpanzee's move away from global leadership, and China's eagerness to fill the perceived vacuum.
The United States slips in this year's U.S. News Best Countries ranking, dropping to the No. 8 spot after falling one position from its 2017 ranking. Switzerland, an island of stable prosperity in a world of turmoil, remains the Best Country, according to a global survey of more than 21,000 persons.

The reasons for America's drop-- the second straight year its ranking dipped-- are fueled by the world's perceptions of the country becoming less progressive and trustworthy, more politically unstable and a president who after just a year in office is far more unpopular than any other head of state or company CEO.

As in 2017, Canada remains the No. 2 in the survey. Germany, as it was in 2016, is perceived as the most powerful country in Europe-- surpassing the U.K. to place at No. 3 overall, while the U.K. drops to No. 4. Japan rounds out the top five, the highest finish for a nation in Asia, a region which survey respondents increasingly believe holds many of the keys to the world's future. At No. 6 is Sweden and Australia moves up to the No. 7 position, surpassing the U.S.

...The Best Countries rankings come just days after Trump celebrates his first year as U.S. president. The U.S. is still seen as the most powerful nation. In many ways, however, the results reflect 12 months of ongoing signs of the decline of America's standing in the world. In this sense, a noticeable "Trump Effect" is taking hold of the U.S.
Here's the 2018 ranked list of 20 best countries:

1- Switzerland
2- Canada
3- Germany
4- U.K.
5- Japan
6- Sweden
7- Australia
8- Trumpland
9- France

10- Netherlands
11- Denmark
12- Norway
13- New Zealand
14- Finland
15- Italy
16- Singapore
17- Austria
18- Luxembourg
19- Spain
20- China

Trump's favorite country, Russia, is #26 and at the very bottom of the list, at #80, is Algeria. By the way, I've been to every country on the list and I don't agree with the evaluation at all. I hate Switzerland and the U.S., despite Trump is still the best.

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