Believe it or not, there is a huge connection between tourism and politics.
Tourism is one of the biggest industries out there, but most tourists travel to selected countries completely blindsiding others.
This happens due to a variety of reasons, sometimes because of weather conditions, sometimes because of money problems, and sometimes due to political issues.
The US is one of the biggest contributors when it comes to international travel. According to experts, American families spend around $2000-$3000 on travel, a large chunk of which goes abroad.
A lot of people from all around the world visit the US as well, however 2017 figures reported a dip of 4% in the number of people visiting America.
This is due to a variety of reasons. People consider a lot of factors when deciding where they should or should not go, and one such factor is politics as well which can also often impact their decisions, sometimes them without even realizing it.
When you think of it, the first reason why there is a decrease in the number of people visiting America would be Trump. He has made it difficult for people of certain nationalities to get a visa, which obviously impacts the number of visitors, but there is more to it.
We shouldn’t be talking about only America here. All countries get affected due to political decisions. For example, the number of people visiting the UK also got a hit due to Brexit.
Director of the U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism & Hospitality Research,Robert Li, who also serves as a professor in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University think that a variety of factors influence someone’s decisions to go to a country.
He says, “I believe all of these [factors]–from visitor-friendly policies to natural and cultural resources–are important. Or, at least, I have not seen any studies showing which is more important. And they are all part of a country’s destination image.”
However, he does agree that the decision of one person, say the country’s president or prime minister can make a lot of difference to the industry.
He adds, “Presidents’ and politicians’ support are crucial to the prosperity of tourism. The Obama administration was quite supportive of tourism–e.g., the Travel Promotion Act was signed into law in 2010, which created Brand USA, the country’s national destination marketing organization. And more countries joined the visa waiver program, etc. The number of international travelers entering the U.S. each year between 2009 and 2016 grew by more than 40 percent, which I believe was not a coincidence.”
When we talk about America, things changed after 9/11 when it became difficult to get a US visa due to security concerns.
However, Trump’s administration in fact brought a lot more problems, even when we consider Mexico. Trump’s plan to build a wall did not only bring him a lot of haters from this part of the world, but also helped change people’s plan to visit the country.
But let’s talk about other countries as well, such as India and Pakistan. These neighboring countries are not the best of friends and have a history together.
India is one of the most visited countries in the world. People visit it due to cultural richness as it offers a great diversity. Plus, it is beautiful and has a lot to offer to the world including beautiful name necklaces, great food and spirituality.
According to reports, about 9 million people visited the country in 2016, up 11% from figures reported in 2015. This is a huge figure and the country is working hard to improve it, however the number of people visiting India from Pakistan is very low, and politics have a large role to play in this.
It is not easy for Pakistanis to get an Indian visa and vice versa. The same situation is seen in some other countries as well where political conditions impact tourism.
Since we are talking about Pakistan, people with a Pakistani passport cannot travel to Israel and vice versa. This political decisions impacts both countries and you will find many more such examples around you.
In recent times, Qatar was largely hit due to a political decision when UAE and other countries in the region put a ban on it. This affected the country’s tourism largely as a number of people visiting Qatar were from neighboring states.
All in all, politics does impact tourism. When two countries have great political relations, like America and Canada, travel between them can be easy which motivates people to take a trip. But when things are hostile, it become difficult and also often expensive to get a visa, which can put people off and prevent them from planning a trip.
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