by Ari Rutenberg
It pains me to read articles like the one posted below. It is a sad day in America when people who are not technically even in our country are harassed and abused by the TSA and the Border Patrol. If this country wants ot be seen as anything but an imperialist pseudo-fascist state we need to start being welcoming to those who visit us from other nations. It is not new that air travel in this country is a hassle, indeed I have always joked that of all the countries I’ve been to it’s the hardest to get into America. If this nation wants to improve its image among other countries we could start by not making it a frustrating and undignified ordeal to simply pass through, or indeed enter, this country. As is said in the article: people from other parts of the world have been dealing with terrorism for 40 or 50 years and they have not had to resort to such draconian tactics to make themselves fell secure.
The travel and tourist industry is one of the United States’ biggest money-makers, generating $103 billion in tax revenue every year.Without this tax revenue, every American household would pay nearly $1,000 more in taxes every a year.But while the travel business is flourishing internationally, tourism to America has been on a steep decline, dropping 36 percent between 1992 and 2005, with a loss of $43 billion in 2005 alone. The nation’s international tourism balance of trade declined more than 70 percent over the past 10 years – from $26.3 billion in 1996 to $7.4 billion in 2005.
People are simply choosing to go elsewhere.But as a follow-on to Logan Murphy’s excellent post on the increasing invasion of privacy by the soon-to-be approved Passenger Name Record for passengers entering international airports, allow me to present a personal view into why tourists are deciding not to spend their money visiting the States.
I moved from Great Britain to New Zealand last week, requiring a flight of 26 hours crammed into a big metal tube with about four hundred other brave souls, the vast majority of us packed into the Economy Class part of a 747, with the usual narrow seats, no leg rests, and poor overheated air ventilation that inevitably leads to sharing every virus on board with everyone else.I dropped at least half my on-board meals down my cleavage trying to eat with elbows pressed together, my ankles swelled to the size (and shape) of a small elephant’s, my calves were a mass of cramps, my eyes throbbed from trying to watch too many movies on a tiny screen eight inches from my nose, my back ached from trying to sleep at twisted, unnatural angles, and my throat tickled with what I knew would end up being a full blown head cold.No, long-haul flights are not fun.People take them because it’s about the only way to get where they really, really want to go.And I really, really wanted to go to NewZealand.
At least there was a chance for a small break once we’d landed in Los Angeles to change flight crews, restock the food galleys and drinks trolleys and refuel the plane, a chance to stretch our legs in the transit lounge and take a breath of fresh air.So you would think…
And you would be so wrong
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.