By way of Crooks and Liars comes an article about our declining international tourism industry. This article is a personal account of stopping in the US as the author travels from London to New Zealand.
The first paragraph is the econ specifics:
The travel and tourist industry is one of the United State’s biggest money-makers, generating $103 billion in tax revenue every year. Without this tax revenue, every American household would pay nearly $1,000 more in taxes every a year. But while the travel business is flourishing internationally, tourism to America has been on a steep decline, dropping 36 percent between 1992 and 2005, with a loss of $43 billion in 2005 alone. The nation’s international tourism balance of trade declined more than 70 percent over the past 10 years – from $26.3 billion in 1996 to $7.4 billion in 2005.
Don’t stop there. Read about how the author’s fellow passengers were cataloged via photo and finger prints even though they were not visiting the USA. They were just stopping over for fuel. Is it any wonder we are seeing such a decline in tourism? One passenger summed it up:
‘You bloody Yanks seem to think terrorism is something new and only ever happens to Americans,’ he groused to me… ‘We’ve had the IRA and the French have the Algerians and the Spanish have ETA. Now you know what the rest of Europe’s been living with for the last few hundred years. Why don’t you lot just grow up?’
I know our reputation in the world has become suspect via what is reported, but people with first hand accounts such as what these passengers experienced I would assume are more probative when judging us. What these passengers experienced is the results of setting policy as driven by paranoia. I personally do not want to be associated with such a mind set. At the same time, what the heck happened to all that we learned from the focus on paranoia and it’s harm in the 60’s? I can recall many bands having songs about it as we became aware of how it was driving policy then. This is one of my favorites:
Grand Funk Paranoid:
Did you ever have that feeling in your life That someone was watching you? You don’t have no reason that’s right But still he’s there watching you Someone is waiting just outside the door To take you away