John Tsitrian shows South Dakota’s business interest into plugging into a new industry campaign against Trump’s reckless trade war. As Tsitrian notes, in addition to playing bumper cars with our bumper crops, Trump’s reckless feck is cutting into another big South Dakota industry—tourism:
Foreign tourists matter. Calling it the “Trump Slump,” Forbes magazine last month noted that the U.S. share of international travel has dropped “sharply” during Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, falling by 6%, costing the U.S. 7.4 million visitors and $32 billion in 2017. Forbes says there’s likely to be more this year. So far in 2018, visitations to Mt. Rushmore have fallen by about 6%. That would be 108,000 visitors. Nationally, National Park visitations have dropped by 8.4 million, or nearly 4% [John Tsitrian, “Move Over Farm Groups. South Dakota’s Business Community Also Has Good Reason to Fight the Trump Slump,” The Constant Commoner, 2018.09.12].
Ever the intelligent, well-sourced commentator, Tsitrian anticipates the strong-dollar argument and says, no, really, it’s Trump:
I think the dropoff in foreign visitation accounts for much of this. A strong U.S. Dollar might have a bit to do with it, but Forbes research on the fluctuating value of the Dollar and tourism patterns don’t give the theory much credence. The influential business advocacy group Business Forward, which featured the situation last summer in a piece about the “Trump Slump,” makes it hard to draw any other conclusion [Tsitrian, 2018.09.12].
Trump knows Tsitrian is right and is trying to hide the fact that his jerk-weedery is hurting tourism:
Of 12 major international tourist destinations, 10 saw more visitors last year (up 13.5%, on average). Only the U.S. and Turkey saw fewer. Competitors, including Canada and Australia (both up more than 20 percent), are benefitting at our expense.
Skeptical? Ask the travel CEOs funding a global ad campaign to win foreign tourists back. Or ask Trump’s Commerce Department, which commissioned one of the consumer surveys that demonstrates how Trump’s hurt us with foreign tourists.
Last year, the Trump Administration defunded those surveys. Last month, it suspended publication of the tourist travel data while it investigates for anomalies in the data. It’s hard to see how creating a $236 billion gap in our economic reports will help our hotels, airports, and airlines prepare for next quarter [Jim Doyle, “American CEOs Say Foreign Tourism Is Experiencing the ‘Trump Slump‘,” Business Forward, 2018.06.04].
We don’t have to travel to Australia to see an ungainly bird with a fuzzy head stick its head in the sand. Just ask Trump to explain his economic policies.