Two weeks ago, we laid in bed watching the CBC’s coverage of the U.S. Presidential Election. Throughout the broadcast, you could see the shift from optimism to pessimism. As the night wore on you could see the disbelief in host Peter Mansbridge’s face increase. One panellist sat there in anger. Another sat there trying to crunch the numbers to see if it still could be undone. By 1am PST, it was over. Donald Trump was set to become the 45th President of the United States of America.
Two years ago, when he began quibbling on about how he was going to run for President and “Make America Great” again, it all seemed like a joke. We all thought, “here’s Trump just putting on a show like he always does.” Then two weeks ago, most of the world watched as the Electoral College gave Trump the presidency. Trump believed it would happen. No one believed him but he pulled it off. On January 20, 2017, he will be sworn into office and from that point forward be in control of the most powerful nation on this planet.
Travelling to the U.S.
As frequent travellers, we’ve visited the U.S. many times and have desires to do some extensive travelling around the U.S. Before we left PEI this summer, we discussed spending next winter in Florida (where Trump won) with our friends Eric & Rosie. Now that Trump is President, Kate & I discussed the possibility of not travelling to the U.S. while he is in office. Not entering the U.S. for 4 years would be the longest stretch of absence from the country since I’ve become an adult.
Neither of us want to boycott travelling to the U.S. but we should think about it. Do we want to support a Trump-led country? This is a man that spewed off a plethora of extreme racist & sexist comments during his campaign. Sadly, it appears that some of those comments may have helped to make him victorious. Shunning the U.S. based on moral beliefs is a legitimate reason for not visiting. However, if we stopped visiting the U.S. because of Trump, we would be hypocrites.
In the past, we’ve enjoyed travelling to Cuba. It’s a wonderful & beautiful country but it’s been run by the Castro’s for decades. With the Castro’s in power, we’ve still happily entered Cuba without a second thought. There are countries across the world where travellers frequent despite corrupt & disliked leaders. Many would say that politics doesn’t influence their travel plans. In travelling to Cuba, we soaked up the sun and sights without giving a thought to politics. Just because we never boycotted countries due to politics in the past, doesn’t mean we won’t in the future as we become more educated and wise about our travelling decisions.
Because of Trump’s victory, there seems to be a lot of unrest in the U.S. right now. Hopefully, as time passes so will the unrest. As of now, however, there must be a touch of concern regarding your safety when travelling to the U.S., especially if visiting major cities. The unrest paired with the high level of recent gun violence can not be ignored.
A few days after Trump was elected, Turkey issued a warning to it’s citizens in regards to travelling to the U.S.:
“Within the context of risks caused by the incidents and of social tension, our citizens who live in the U.S., or who are considering travelling there, should be cautious.”
For many countries around the world, warnings like this are commonly issued. As of now, the Government of Canada has not issued any travel warnings or advisories for those travelling to the U.S. On the Travelling Advice & Advisories portion of their website, the government says of travelling to the U.S.:
“Exercise normal security precautions”
Common sense is a big one. If you avoid protests & demonstrations along with being wise about the areas you visit and the time of day you visit those areas, the percentages should be safely in your favour. With that being said, if you are a minority, you could unreasonably be a target as we’ve seen in the news lately.
Will Trump Affect Tourism?
For at least four years Trump will be the President. Based on the above, it will be interesting to see if this affects tourism in the U.S. If it does, the country & tourism industry will lose out on a lot of cash, especially if Canadians refuse to cross the border.
According to Stats Canada, 300,000 Canucks cross into the U.S. every day. In a year that means, Canadians are making millions of visits to the U.S. That’s a lot of money flowing into the U.S. from Canada. With Trump now President paired with the weak loonie, it could mean a lot of travellers choosing to stay at home which would hurt the U.S. tourism industry.
While Canadians are the biggest supporters of tourism in the U.S., we’re not the only country with citizens thinking about staying away while Trump is in power. It’s estimated that one million British travellers are expected to say, “No thanks” to the U.S. as a travel destination because of Trump. Again, that is a lot of money not being spent in the U.S.
What Will RVers Do?
As soon as Trump was declared the President, I wondered not only about how his election would influence tourism in the U.S. but more specifically – RV travel. Because of it’s proximity to Canada and the number of stunning & beautiful places to visit, the U.S. has become a favourite destination of RVers. In the winter, snowbirds flock south to stay warm and toasty while ignoring the snow north of the border. With Trump now ruling over the U.S., will RVers stop visiting? I was curious and asked the question in a couple of different RVing Facebook groups.
The results and comments were interesting. I’d estimate that 60-70% of RVers said that they would continue to take RV vacations in the U.S. Still, that leaves 30-40% of RVers that will not be spending their money down south. This, along with Parks Canada giving free entry to all parks for the entirety of 2017 could mean a slower year that normal for the camping industry in the U.S.
Why Will You/Won’t You Visit the U.S.?
When I asked whether or not RVers would continue to RV into the U.S., I asked them to explain their reasoning. Here is what some of the comments said:
Will Travel To The US
“We are in Arizona now for the winter. I don’t believe it will make any difference to us, it’s more likely the cost of travel insurance that will stop us coming down.”
“The reduced number of RV’ers heading south may reduce RV park rates and make spaces more readily available.”
“No change in plans here. Who cares if Trump is in? The US is still a great country represented by a nearly 50/50 split of right leaning and left leaning people. The same as Canada. That’s the way our democracy’s work.”
“I’m Canadian and I really don’t like Trump for a lot of reasons but I love the United States & I will never stop to going there for vacations.”
“I would not boycott the USA because of who is president, I would go for the for the sunshine in winter and the cheaper booze. Politics is not an issue.”
“Of course we are going to spend the winter in Florida. Life is short, if we die… “we are here for a good time not a long time”.
Won’t Travel to the U.S.
“No, we won’t be travelling to the USA until Trump is gone . I do not agree with his position on woman’s rights, his position on people if different race etc. Plus he wants to distort NAFTA. there are three signatories to the agreement, the USA doesn’t just get to make the rules. There are two other partners to the agreement.”
“I have spent many winters south of the border. This year they can have it. I am not going. That violent, racist underbelly that was always there but more or less held in check is rearing its ugly head. This season I will keep my money out of the US. As a nation they lost any respect I held for them.”
“My plan is to stay away from the US. I do not want to support them economically with a hateful bigot in charge. Also, certain members of my family would no longer be safe there.”
“I was not planning on travelling to the US next year but perhaps in the next few years. However, I think I will spend my money in Canada for the next four years.”
What Will You Do?
It’s a fact that we can’t ignore – Donald Trump is President for at least 4 years. It will be interesting to watch how much, if at all, his presidency affects tourism in the U.S. There are many reasons to avoid the country but still many reasons that make it a desirable place to travel. Will moral beliefs & safety concerns outweigh the desirable destinations in the end? Only time will tell.