Which would you rather have in your country, guns or tourists? Because you can’t have both.
Yesterday I was chatting with a couple of women and mentioned that I planned to spend winter in the United States. They looked horrified. One of them asked, “Aren’t you afraid?” When I said I wasn’t, she replied “But there are so many guns down there. Everyone has a gun.”
This was on the same day that we learned about the massacre in Las Vegas, so it is not surprising that these ladies were alarmed, but this is not the first time I have been aware of this misperception of people in America. When the news is all about guns, you think that guns are everywhere. When you think guns are everywhere, you want to stay far away from them. When tourists stay away, America loses billions of dollars.
As an example of how much money is spent by visitors to the U.S., The Independent newspaper in the U.K. estimated how much money would be lost by the travel ban that was instituted back in January. They reckoned that there would be 4.3 million fewer visitors this year, which would result in a loss of $7.4 billion in revenue, and that was just because of the travel ban.
All the numbers are not yet in, of course, but it seems clear that there are fewer tourists to the U.S. this year than in previous years. Traveller.com estimates that by the end of 2017 there will have been a loss of $330 million in lost revenue from Middle Eastern travellers alone. Time’s Money magazine estimates that, in addition, there was a 10.1% reduction in visitors from Europe. Some of this reduction is attributed to the stronger dollar and weaker Euro, but Trump’s travel ban seems to be the primary reason. Money magazine reckons there will be a $10.8 billion loss in spending by the end of the year.
That was before the latest mass shooting. Today’s Daily Telegraph in the U.K. includes a lengthy and detailed article about the effects of gun ownership and gun violence on tourism, and it is bound to make British tourists even more nervous about visiting the United States. The section on Nevada gun laws alone is enough to deter most people.
So, America, you are certainly free to keep buying and owning guns of all sorts. Just don’t expect the rest of the world to like it. When our news headlines convince us that many Americans own far too many guns and may use them indiscriminately, we would rather take our vacations elsewhere, thanks.
If you decide you would rather have tourists than guns, then I suggest you give up on trying to get the politicians to solve the problem. They haven’t been able to do it so far. Instead, you should go after the National Rifle Association. That’s where the problem lies. Find out who runs that death factory and go after them personally, individually, and incessantly.
Until then, you can expect to lose billions of dollars in tourist revenue. It’s up to you.