Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Should Be Embarrassed, Angry, and Depressed

In a November 26 Newsweek article, Fareed Zakaria reports some depressing statistics. During what is probably the world’s largest tourism boom, the U.S. is the only major country which has seen foreign visitation decline.

The article notes that Brits – “people from America’s closest ally, the overwhelming majority...white Anglos with names like Smith and Jones” – have reduced their visits to the U.S. by 11 percent. During the same time frame, the British visitation to India increased 102 percent, to New Zealand 106 percent, and to the Caribbean 31 percent.

Of course, there are many reasons (excuses) for this decline in inbound U.S. tourism, but the prime culprit is the cabal of TSA, Homeland Security, the INS, and a government which wants to keep Americans in fear – fear of the unknown, fear of foreigners, in fear so we will be as docile as sheep when they tap our phones without warrants.

Not only do international visitors enrich us culturally, they contribute greatly to our economy. The article notes that the 17 percent overall decline in tourism since 9/11 represents $94 billion in lost tourism spending, a loss of 200,000 jobs, and $16 billon in lost tax revenues.