Per Condé Nast, in an article released just this fall, the United States remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Indeed, it ranks behind only only France, with 75.61 million annual visitors (to France’s impressive 82.6 million). As one of the largest, most advanced, and most culturally diverse and geographically varied countries in the world, the U.S. is a natural draw to people all over the world. However, it may also be fair to suggest that the political climate in America over the past two years or so may be staring to deter potential tourists.
2016 brought about one of the nastiest and most contentious political elections in American history as the United States public voted on Barack Obama’s successor. Crass billionaire and political novice Donald Trump wound up winning that honor, and since his taking over the White House, worldwide opinion of the U.S. has plummeted. Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings toward Trump, a few things are fair to say: he’s unpredictable and erratic, he has directed harsh rhetoric toward immigrants and foreign nationals, and he has openly preached for a more isolationist (or as he puts it, “America First”) form of governance. So – do these policies and tendencies make the U.S. a bad place to visit heading into 2018?
Trump’s standing as president doesn’t appear to be in any question or doubt at the moment, despite what his opponents might wish to see. There has been rampant talk of impeachment since Trump took office, from bettors gambling on the idea online, to professional analysts discussing the topic on news shows. However, the chance of Trump actually stepping down doesn’t seem likely, according to most analysts. While his campaign (and possibly Trump himself) is under FBI investigation, impeachment is a long process even if proceedings to begin. Thus, if you’re in the camp that is uncomfortable traveling to America simply because of Trump’s erratic and unpredictable nature as the leader of the country, your concern is likely to remain relevant.
American Position Toward Foreigners
U.S. policy toward foreign nationals is complicated these days. For the most part, however, we can say that it can be restrictive to immigration and off-putting in general, but not necessarily prohibitive to travelers. Trump’s administration has repeatedly attempted to ban or severely limit immigration from numerous Muslim-majority nations, and the president himself has had nasty things to say about citizens and governments from other nations as well (such as China and Mexico). However, none of this means there is risk in traveling to the U.S. – it just might not be a particularly desirable option to those offended by the president’s rhetoric.
Potential For Conflict
This may be what raises most prospective tourists’ eyebrows these days, because unfortunately there have been some violent issues in the U.S. throughout 2017. The most alarming issue was probably when a large group of neo-Nazis marched in the streets of Charlottesville and one woman who was peacefully protesting wound up killed. This incident and others related to it do seem to be related to the rise of an administration that is less than convincing in renouncing such activity. Other violent issues that have reached the news, however, such as two particularly horrific mass shootings, are not directly tied to new politics. While they are indicative of the Americans’ inability to pass effective gun safety legislation, they are not new problems in 2017.
Changes Affecting Tourists
On a somewhat lighter note, it’s worth mentioning that the Trump administration has also been involved in some practical matters that may trouble prospective tourists. For one thing, Trump has thus far been unable to pass an infrastructure bill to improve America’s roads and airports, among other things (despite this being perhaps his least controversial policy idea). Additionally, the administration’s budgets have at times proposed radical cuts for parks and forests, which could result in it being harder to visit and enjoy some of the country’s most stunning natural wonders. This doesn’t necessarily seem to be a concern just yet for tourists however.
None of this is meant to be alarming. But because it’s been a tumultuous time in the U.S., and it can be tough to determine how much the news reflects everyday reality, it seems worth addressing. Political turmoil has led to some tense social situations and, arguably, some violence. The U.S. should still be considered generally safe, however, and politics have not had a significant effect on most of the sights and attractions you might go to see.