Donald Trump as President-elect is a shock to many, but given Brexit and the rise of far-right parties, it may not be as surprising as the media makes it out to be. But how will the appointment of “The Donald” affect travel in, to and from the US?
Trump is tough on immigration, with his call to “ban all Muslims” entering the US and plans to build his infamous wall along the Mexican border as well-known examples of this. Therefore, it’s likely that minorities may feel threatened when entering the US for fear of persecution, given there has also been a rise of hate-crimes since Trump’s election, echoing post-Brexit racial attacks. Americans may feel they will be perceived negatively when travelling outside the US as a result. Additionally, entering the US is likely to be more difficult: border-control is likely to be even stricter, making it more difficult for both tourists to enter, and for people to access work-visas. After the election, the Canadian immigration website crashed, suggesting many people want to leave. Combining this with tougher border-controls, as well as Trump’s plans to deport 2-3 million immigrants immediately, it would be more difficult to let skilled workers into the country, which could negatively affect the economy and create a brain-drain.
it’s likely that minorities may feel threatened by entering the US for fear of persecution
It should be noted, however, that Trump emphasised deporting criminals and illegal immigrants, who are less likely to contribute to the US economy, rather than skilled workers. It’s also not likely that millions of Americans would suddenly emigrate to Canada, given peoples’ reluctance to leave their home and working lives, and Canada not being able to accommodate for such a mass influx from the States.
Furthermore, it’s uncertain what bills Trump will be able to pass in congress. Republicans don’t favour Trump, and it seems unfeasible that they would allow him to literally “ban all Muslims”, or pay for a giant wall to go across Mexico. And if Congress did allow this, the implementation would likely be expensive and time-consuming, and may not be completed before the next election. Trump’s wall for example, would take 16 years to complete (8 years in, he’d be out of office) and cost $16 billion to build; architecturally, it’s also unfeasible given the mountainous range around the US-Mexico border. From this point of view, it can be argued that, given Trump’s policies may be hard to implement, travel may not be as badly affected as it’s perceived to be.
Trump’s wall would take 16 years to complete … and cost $16 billion to build
On the other hand, airlines may raise their prices, both in and out of the US, as a result of the election, which could negatively impact states reliant on tourism, such as Florida, California, and Nevada. This would primarily be the result of the US economy shrinking and becoming less commercially attractive, due to the trade-war policies Trump has proposed, as well as social instability.
Adding to this, travel surveys have claimed that a Trump presidency, among other factors, such as the falling pound and the Zika Virus, is putting Brits off travelling to the US with “over one million UK travellers set to reconsider the country as a holiday destination”. Many people are considering travelling to Canada or Mexico instead. Travel out of the US may also be negatively affected. Tough border controls are likely to adversely affect visitor numbers from the US, even with the attractive devalued Mexico peso.
a Trump presidency, among other factors, such as the falling pound and the Zika Virus, is putting Brits off travelling to the US
However, a different article argues that a Trump presidency would be better for the aviation industry, resulting from fewer environmental regulations, lower taxes, and an overall pro-business framework Donald Trump favours, which would incentivise airlines to increase profits. This, along with the falling value of the dollar, could drive down the ticket prices to the US and to countries with currencies tied to the dollar. Travel incentives may also be provided, meaning that, when combining these factors, travel to and from the US may not be as badly affected as predicted.
Lastly, different Marijuana legalisation bills were recently passed in several states, which could attract more tourism. Other states are likely to follow suit, and Trump may cut-back spending on the war on drugs, which statistically has been a huge failure. Drug legalisation has benefited both tourism and economies as a whole, as seen with Colorado, where legalisation created thousands of new jobs, and brought $135 million into state last year.
In the long run, the socio-economic and environmental impacts of Trump’s presidency are likely to be negative
To summarise, it’s unclear what exactly a Trump Presidency will entail for travel in and out of the US. The effects on the US aviation and tourism industries are uncertain. In the short run, it’s unlikely Trump’s election will have a big impact on travel into the US as it remains the biggest superpower on the planet. In the long run, the socio-economic and environmental impacts of Trump’s presidency are likely to be negative, and may put off investment in the US, as well as people travelling there; the future impact is nonetheless unpredictable. It seems with Trump, only time will tell.