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After a Quiet Winter, the World of Travel Has Suddenly Erupted with Distinctive Developments | Frommer's InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr

After a Quiet Winter, the World of Travel Has Suddenly Erupted with Distinctive Developments

Arthur Frommer assesses how Trump's policies, European terror attacks, budget cuts, and a new kind of hostel could affect U.S. travelers.

Americans are often left unaffected by various changes in the rules and policies of travel—but that hasn’t been the case in recent weeks.  Consider the following:

  1. The proposal of the Trump administration to cut the budget of the Department of the Interior by 12% and to cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by 31% has caused consternation among officials of the National Park Service. Both departments supervise and exercise functions of the national parks, and it is now feared that funding for the parks will be reduced by an even greater extent than ever before. In 2016, 330 million people (a huge increase from previousl numbers) visited and used our national parks, stretching their previous inability to handle large numbers, and it is now feared that our parks will deteriorate dramatically, both in accommodations and trails. The public must protest this ongoing destruction of national treasures. We need to increase funding for our national parks, not decrease them.
  2. Promoters of travel to London are beginning to fear that the recent terrorist attack near Parliament Square will cause a drop-off in travel to Britain’s capital. There already is evidence that London tourism has been affected. Though this may open up space for foreign tourists in London’s hotels, the reduction in tourism to that remarkable city is sad and will have an impact on tourism in that city.
  3. The proposed Trump ban against Muslim travelers to the United States has now claimed another victim: foreign students applying for admission to our U.S. universities and colleges. There apparently has been a sharp decline in such applications (resulting from a widespread apprehension overseas that we are hostile to foreign visitors), reducing what had earlier been a foreign student presence of 8% in such schools, accounting for 20% of their income (because foreign students receive few scholarships and pay full tuition). Paradoxically, however, the reduction has made it easier for American students to apply for such openings.
  4. A travel boycott against North Carolina has apparently ended with the state legislature’s decision to end its discriminatory law against use of school bathrooms by transgender students. So effective was this boycott that it is unlikely other states will follow the now-reversed North Carolina policy.
  5. One house of the Florida legislature has caused a similar concern because of its decision to cut the funding for Visit Florida Marketing by 67%. One tourist official after another has pointed out that earlier actions by other legislatures have resulted in a drastic drop in tourism to the states adopting such economies. Apparently, the decision to stop advertising travel to a particular locality ends up causing a great loss in touristic income.
  6. Finally, it has been announced that Generator Hostels has introduced new bars and restaurants at several of its 14 properties in Europe. That means that now, in addition to offering modern rooms with private bathrooms to cost-conscious tourists at far-lower-than-usual costs, Generator has a wider array of food and beverage options for those tourists as well—a fact that many would-be American visitors to Europe might well keep in mind.