Saturday, November 03, 2007

Tourism down on terroristic tactics

By Libby

I can't remember where I picked up this link, I hope it wasn't here, but I've been hearing for a long time that foreign tourism is down in the US and apparently, it's getting worse every day.
"Since September 11, 2001, the United States has experienced a 17 percent decline in overseas travel, costing America 94 billion dollars in lost visitor spending, nearly 200,000 jobs and 16 billion dollars in lost tax revenue," the Discover America advocacy campaign said in a statement.
From a traveler's point of view, this makes no sense. The dollar is weak compared to foreign currencies so the US is a travel bargain and a half and our country has traditionally been a favorite destination. So how to explain the tourist deficit?

Sully offers up a clue this morning.
Another sign of what's going on: some big-name Finnish musicians come to Minnesota for a music tour. One is allegedly the "Bruce Springsteen" of Finland. They've done nothing wrong. But this is what they get at the airport:

Immigration agents at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport subjected them to more than two hours of interrogation that the musicians considered so harsh and demeaning that they filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki.

"It was almost three hours of screaming, door-slamming and accusations, according to the report I received," said Marianne Wargelin, honorary Finnish consul for the Dakotas and most of Minnesota, which has the second largest Finnish-American population in the nation...
This is of course, just one of all too many similar incidents. Word gets out and few recreational travelers will choose to spend their turodollars for a chance to be treated like terrorists, and possibly even denied entry, when there are so many countries that offer a warmer welcome. Heck, I haven't left the US myself since Bush took office because, as my friend Barry Crimmins would say, I don't want to become of victim of such inane foreign policy when I try to get back in.

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