Seen many foreign tourists here lately?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Rearden Metal, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Neither have I.
    With the dollar all the way down at rock-bottom levels, Europeans could be vacationing here like kings... yet they still refuse to come.

    This is what happens when you security-screen everyone equally, instead of taking the obvious logical step of profiling those who pose the most danger (=Muslims).
    This is costing us 200,000 jobs and $100 Billion... a pretty high price to pay in order not to offend a few peace loving Muzzies, wouldn't you say?

    Congress looks to boost US tourism By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
    Thu Jul 5, 3:36 PM ET

    WASHINGTON - The United States has lost billions of dollars and an immeasurable amount of good will since Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks nearly six years ago because of a decline in foreign tourists. Several senators are now trying to get the government involved in bringing those visitors back.

    The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a bill to establish a nonprofit public-private corporation to promote the United States as a tourist destination and clear up misperceptions about U.S. travel policies. It also would create a new office in the Commerce Department to work with other agencies on fixing visa policies and entry processes that discourage visits.

    Visits to the United States from countries outside of Canada and Mexico totaled 21.7 million in 2006, <b>down 17 percent</b> from a peak of 26 million in 2000, according to Commerce Department figures. In the same period, cross-border travel around the world was up 20 percent.

    "The global pie of international travel is steadily increasing, while the U.S. share has been slowly decreasing," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association.

    <b>Visits from the six countries that provide the most tourists — Britain, Japan, Germany, France, South Korea and Australia — have dropped 15 percent since 2000 while travel from those six to other countries was up a robust 39 percent. There were 4.2 million arrivals from Britain, last year, down 11 percent from 2000, and 3.7 million visits from Japan, down 27 percent.</b>

    "It's a situation that really is disastrous when you take into account the overall global trends in international travel, and the fact that the U.S. currency makes travel to the country so attractive," said Adam Sacks, managing director for tourism economics at Oxford Economics. The weakening of the dollar against the euro and other currencies makes the money of foreign tourists go further.

    Oxford Economics, in a recent analysis of travel policies written with former Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge, said the 17 percent drop in visits since 2000 has cost the United States $100 billion in lost visitor spending, almost 200,000 jobs and $16 billion in lost tax receipts.

    It noted that the United States is the only global destination without an ongoing program to promote itself. Greece spends $150 million a year, Australia $113 million and Britain $90 million.

    "We have lacked a coordinated program to promote travel to our country," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., one of the sponsors of the Senate bill.

    The new corporation envisioned by the bill would be <b>funded by industry contributions and a $10 user fee levied on travelers</b>
    (<i>Oh yeah, make them pay extra taxes- That'll make 'em want to visit more often! Who's the freaking genius who comes up with this stupid shit?</i>) from the 27 countries participating in a visa waiver program with the United States.

    But industry experts also stressed that increased advertising about the wonders of Broadway or the Grand Canyon must be accompanied by changes in the visa and entry systems that keep people away.

    Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership, a business group working to improve the U.S. image, said 70 percent of foreign visitors have a great experience once they get beyond the airport. At a time when many in the world have negative feelings about the United States, 74 percent return from visits with favorable views.

    "Unfortunately the first three hours" — trying to get through customs — "is creating a poor impression and becoming a great barrier to coming," Freeman said. European papers are "filled with horror stories about why you don't want to come to the U.S."

    Entry problems are hardly confined to tourists. Investors from countries such as Brazil or India, where it can take months to get a visa, may take their business elsewhere. People willing to pay considerable amounts to study in the United States or receive medical treatment here may consider other options.

    The Oxford study recommended that the United States expand the visa waiver program and apply the proposed $10 visa waiver fee to both promotion and entry security improvements including hiring more border and customs officers.

    It said such steps could increase overseas travel to this country by nearly 1.6 million visitors a year, and yield $8 billion in new visitor spending and $850 million in federal tax revenue.
  2. Talk about a return on investment for Al-Qaida. For an investment of a mere $100000 they have been able to affect over $100 billion in losses to their enemy.

    Considering the damage Americans have inflicted upon themselves since 9/11, could it be that in hindsight the best thing Americans could have done in response was simply to have done nothing?
  3. Bad news if you're in a tourist economy as I am.

    They also wont buy residential real estate here other than high end urban because we sock them with a 10% tax when they sell which when added to commish (4-6%) and non-resident state withholding taxes (2-5%) amounts to quite a hit.

    Here's the worst part -- the Yahoo story doesn't even mention Canada. My Chamber of Commerce ran a story from a Canadian paper with stats that cross border tourist travel was back to levels not seen since the 1970s.

    Also, the problem is huge for foreign business people - - they don't want to come here either. They'll video conference or meet in a 3rd party state locale. So we can't get at the convention and conference pie.

    The only success we've had with the Bushies has been in getting them to lay off cruise ship passengers.

    Don't even want to think what devaluation of the dollar has done to the numbers of US tourists embarking for overseas - remember part of all these trips is US based also.
  4. Perhaps people just don't want to vacation in a country where Bush and company are in charge...

    It ain't about the currency.

    Imagine what happens when we finally do get that next terrorist event, large or small, and if the politically driven jihadists have been capable of recruiting a blonde haired blue eyed disgruntled or easily brainwashed US citizen...or another Tim McVeigh.

    I don't think tourists want to be around for that nightmare and the police state that follows.

    Hell, if the right wingers and the bigots and racial profilers get their way, we are headed to an isolationist police state anyway.

    Spent some time yesterday with an educated man, who had been reading about WWII and the Nazis, how the concept of preemption as spouted by Bush and his followers is right out of Nazism 101.

    As things get worse here, the desire to recapture the glory of the "Homeland" will likely produce even greater similarities...

    The Davids sure seem to be beating the snot our of the Goliaths these days...

  5. This is what happens when you security-screen everyone equally, instead of taking the obvious logical step of profiling those who pose the most danger (=Muslims).
    This is costing us 200,000 jobs and $100 Billion... a pretty high price to pay in order not to offend a few peace loving Muzzies, wouldn't you say?

    Agreed. Last year I took a vacation to D.C. and other areas on the east coast. The security measures were crazy...and ineffective. You have a huge army of security people, costing god knows what. And in most cases they are just going through the motions. But everyone has to be equally harassed.

    Airports...the same thing. There's got to be a better way.

    But I suppose this provides employment for a lot of people that might otherwise not be qualified for anything.
  6. You can go see that better way for yourself today, at Ben-Gurion International airport in Israel. Passengers who might be a threat are screened carefully, while those who are obviously not self-explosively inclined are quickly passed right through.
  7. Disney in Florida has been overrun by Europeans, particularly Brits, with the French and German running a close second. Some well-heeled Chinese are also coming, which is interesting.

    Brits going nuts here over $70 IZOD shirts which retail for 70 quid at home.

    Glad to have 'em. Their money is as good as anyone elses'.
  8. They had almost the same system at Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s
  9. How very clever.
    Do you support the current U.S. policy of pretending Muslim and non-Muslim passengers are an equal threat, yes or no?
  10. You are deluding yourself if you think that a middle class white family will receive the same attention from the TSA as a young single male attempting to travel on a one way ticket. Makes no difference what the official policy states.
    #10     Jul 8, 2007