Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The golden door

by Capt. Fogg

If you travel internationally, you may or may not have seen the hassling of those without US passports. It has been a bit embarrassing at times to have arrived with traveling acquaintances of impressive professional and educational backgrounds and to watch them being treated as though they were being booked at the police station or entering Checkpoint Charley at the height of the cold war. The fingerprinting however is only part of what many have to go through before even getting a visa. Examination and audit of their financial records and visa fees are part of the lengthy process. It's not just the huddled masses we're rejecting these days, it's the affluent customers, yearning to boost our economy. Many Europeans and others just don't think it's worth it all, despite the lure of bargain prices for those with Euros or Sterling to spend. Who can blame them?

Of course we're number one, and we don't care what those damned foreigners think -- "let them go back to their third world hellholes," is a common sentiment among the angry, nationalisticlouts who seem to comprise an alarming proportion of our population. I've heard those exact words too often. Although we need people with money to spend to come here and spend it more than ever; although tourism is a three quarter of a trillion dollar industry, it's down as much as 40% percent is some locations. Think Las Vegas, think Disney, Manhattan, the Grand Canyon; think trade shows, academic seminars.

The Christian Science Monitor describes the Chinese owner of 1200 electronics stores who would love to visit the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas - he can't get a visa and so he's not going to order any American products or spend money at hotels and casinos and restaurants and stores. He'll go to the Berlin show instead and he's unlikely to be treated as rudely as he will be here in "English only or go to hell" America. Europeans are opting for Euro Disney and gamers are choosing Macau and we're losing a whole lot of money.

But we're Americans and we own the center of the world, don't we? So what if we're the only developed country without a campaign to promote foreign tourism. Who cares?

Cross posted from Human Voices


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OpenID expatbrian said...

Well, any American with half a brain, and most Americans have half a brain, realizes that anyone who doesn't look just like us or talk just like us is obviously a terrorist, terrorist sympathizer, or a pinko commie bastard. Besides, if we need their money so badly, we'll just go take it. Who's gonna stop us?

8:15:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

And if they don't speak English, it's because they're not smart enough.

1:39:00 PM  

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