Tourism is down since the new presidency. But you can still have an enjoyable trip if you delete your dodgy phone photos and avoid killer lawnmowers
Trump may be a global brand but he hasnt been very good for the United States international image. Research suggests that his presidency has already hurt the countrys travel industry and made it a less desirable tourist destination. A study by Hopper, a market research firm, found there has been a 17% decrease in flight searches from international origins to the US since Trump became president. In the UK, Kayak reports a 58% decline in searches for flights to Tampa and Orlando. This Trump slump is not very surprising: his primary focus since taking office has been on kicking people out of the US and keeping them out. Walls, travel bans and extreme vetting dont exactly send the message that the US is a warm and inviting country to foreigners, whether youre on the banned list or not. (Unless youre Russian, it seems; there has been an 88% increase in searches for flights to the US there.
The downturn in US tourism isnt surprising but it is a little sad. The country may be undergoing some serious renovations, but its still a wonderful place for a holiday; particularly if you enjoy vigorous frisking by men in uniform. Even so, its always worth doing your homework before visiting a developing country and getting to know the local customs before you travel. So here are a few tips for those planning a trip to Trumps America.
Learn how to balance a binary search tree
Harvard, Stanford, Yale, JFKs Terminal 3 some of the worlds most prestigious educational institutes are in the US. And, as some travellers are discovering, the countrys pedagogical passion is evident the moment you land on US soil. David Thornton, a (white) Australian software engineer, was given a computer science test when he landed in Newark in February. And Celestine Omin, a Nigerian software engineer, claimed that he was asked to balance a binary search tree by immigration officials at New Yorks JFK airport. Yeah, I have no idea what that means but its nice to see border agents taking the Stem subjects seriously.
Delete dodgy photos from your phone
Lets say, purely hypothetically, that your phone contains racy pictures of you and your partner balancing a binary search tree in the buff: you should probably delete these. Federal agents at the US border are given wide-ranging powers and can ask for your phone and social-media passwords. Shortly after Trump enacted his travel ban, Sidd Bikkannavar, a Nasa engineer (and natural-born US citizen), had his work phone and passcode seized at Houston airport (it was handed back to him without a reason for the search). So you dont have to be a rocket scientist to realise a quick cleanup of your digital baggage is probably a good idea before heading stateside.
Steer clear of radicalised lawnmowers
The media dont like to mention it, but some parts of the US have become no-go areas due to murderous lawnmowers. According to a study by the Cato Institute, you are far more likely to die on US soil at the hands of a homegrown lawnmower than a foreign-born terrorist. The situation is so bad that, in some places, local gardening enthusiasts live in a state of constant terror. So stay very vigilant when visiting the suburbs, please.
Dont get ill or injured
If you are unlucky enough to be attacked by a rogue lawnmower while visiting the US then Im afraid hospital treatment will be very expensive. I cant tell you how expensive, exactly, because healthcare there is an enigma, particularly now that Obamacare is being replaced. As Trump has said: Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated. The one thing I can tell you with certainty is that, should you require medical care, death will definitely be the cheapest option.
Dont go to Kansas if youre Indian
Two Indian men were shot (one fatally) in Kansas last week by a white man who reportedly yelled get out of my country. According to one witness, he thought they were Iranian and so was perhaps just taking Trumps travel ban into his own hands.