He’s spent his life trying to fill hotel rooms, so it’s somewhat ironic that Donald Trump’s move to the White House could be what empties tourist lodgings across the US.
Following the Trump travel ban on refugees and travellers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, numerous protest marches have been held and petitions launched.
Award show speeches targeted the new president and his policies, and Twitter hashtags such as #Standuptotrump, #Drumpf, #notmypresident and #dumptrump are popping up as fast as pussy hats and small hands jokes.
So, how long before this anti-Trump movement hits US tourism?
In 2015, Indonesia’s execution of several foreigners convicted of drug offences sparked a call for a boycott of the country’s major tourist hot spot, Bali.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, tourists were discouraged from travelling to Myanmar in the name of not supporting the country’s military regime.
Namibia has been targeted with travel boycotts over its culling of seals, Uganda over its treatment of gay people, India for violence against women, and the Maldives for human rights violations.
Now, the US looks set for the same treatment. The Toronto Star this week called for Canadians to avoid the States, saying the travel ban was a policy that couldn’t be ignored.
“Plenty of us choose to vacation in the United States, and we don’t have to,” journalist Mark Bulgutch wrote.
“As an ordinary citizen there is something you can do. You can tell the president that if he closes the door
on people who don’t deserve such callous treatment, we won’t be using the door he has left open for us. We’ll stop visiting the United States.”
I love America. I travelled around the country for three months in 2012, and couldn’t pick a favourite state because, sincerely, every one I visited was fabulous.
The people I met were exceptionally welcoming, the landscape was mind-blowing. I always knew I’d go back, and knew I’d go back many times.
But I can’t justify visiting that awesome country when others are shut out in such a disgustingly prejudice way.
If my tourist dollars can be translated as support for where the US is headed, then they’re going to have to be spent elsewhere.