Tourism in a trade war

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Overnight, a rather unusual development occurred in the trade dispute between China and the USA. The Chinese government issued what seems to be the equivalent of a trade advisory to its citizens warning them against travelling to the USA warning them of robberies, violence and shootings. (I suppose it is referring to the shootings in Virginia Beach where a disgruntled employee shot and injured work colleagues.)

is there much love between China and the USA? Will tourism suffer as a result?

The Chinese spokesman quoted by the Reuters news agency also accused the US authorities of harassing Chinese nationals as they enter or leave the USA.

It looks to me as though China is using tourism a as lever in the trade disagreements between the two countries otherwise why did it not issue an advisory about travelling to Australia where four people were killed in Darwin yesterday?

Such is the importance of tourism these days. And where one country has played this card will not others follow?

For over a decade, destinations have been wooing tourists from China. On more than one occasion at a travel trade gathering in the USA ( coincidentally it happens this week in Los Angeles) other countries have complained that the US has concentrated on attracting Chinese visitors whilst saying little about attracting the people from other nations.

The Chinese traveller is important just because of the sheer number of potential tourists and the fact that when the travel they don’t just visit for a few days but follow escorted, lengthy tours. What major tourist destination has not set up an office in China? Or two or three?

But will Chinese travellers heed the advice of their government? You have to believe that they probably will. As such, a Chinese travel advisory becomes a potent economic threat over countries.

Britons, Egyptians and Tunisians know the impact when tourists don’t arrive after from the government as do those Caribbean nations which have been hit by hurricanes and lose their infrastructure for a while. Tourists have become vital cogs in the economic order.

Tourism was seen as a way of fostering closer ties, of understanding different cultures and of bring people together. The latest development by China may alter that interpretation so that citizens become tools of government policy

And I, for one, don’t like the implications for my future travel plans if other countries follow suit.

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