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Thursday,  June 13, 2024 12:38 AM 

Will election result Trump tourism?

Will election result Trump tourism?
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

While Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election results may have helped crash Immigration Canada’s website with queries from Americans looking to move north, in the days following the news, U.S. tourism representatives aren’t ready to announce that a Donald Trump presidency will put a damper on travel to the country by Canadians.

And while there are many unknowns with the election just concluded – particularly in regards to the impact on cross-border trade and its ultimate effect on Canada’s economy, should Trump follow through on a pledge to force a renegotiation of NAFTA – it appears too early to ring any alarm bells.

In a statement posted the morning of the historic vote, U.S. Travel Association President & CEO Roger Dow said that regardless of the election outcome, the total value of the U.S. travel industry, estimated at $2.1 trillion in annual economic output, simply can’t be ignored.

“On a practical level, our industry supports 15.1 million American jobs, and is among the top ten employers in 49 states and the District of Columbia—and every congressional district in the country benefits from travel jobs and traveler-generated tax revenue,” Dow said, adding the following day that the organization is looking forward to continuing its work with the incoming president.

Echoing the sentiment was Brand USA’s Anne Madison, chief strategy & communications officer for the organization, adding that “in the long-term, travel rises to the top.”

“We are very confident that Canada will remain an important market for us, she said. “People recognize the need for travel to fuel the economy.”

From Canada in particular, that influx of funding would be hard for any president to ignore. In 2015, the top 15 states by Canadian visitation alone welcomed nearly 21 million travellers, spending an estimated $16.3 billion; Florida, the top U.S. destination for Canadians according to Statistics Canada, welcomed nearly 3.8 million Canadian visitors who contributed $5.3 billion to the state’s economy.

While there have been concerns raised over whether Trump’s campaign rhetoric and eventual presidency will ultimately deter visitors, long-time Ottawa-area travel agent Norm Payne is taking the long-view, describing such concerns as “bumps in the road” while noting that the president-elect is in the tourism business himself with his eponymous hotel brand.

“Terrorism hasn’t stopped travel, and this won’t either,” Payne said. “These are things we don’t have control over and while it may scare some of the people sometime, you can’t drive everyone away.”