By Meredith Bless
“I may be a conservative redneck, but I’m middle of the road when it comes to some politics,” said my first customer of the day, a middle-aged man decked out in camo gear. He took a sip of his cocktail, looked out the window, and followed up with, “You’re probably super liberal right?” As the night went on and politically opinionated customers filtered through the neighborhood bar, I realized that when we see our summer tourism boom, this politically divided city comes together and gives the people what they want. A vacation of a lifetime, filled with sight-seeing, laughter, wildlife, knowledge, and fun. We then pack them up, and kindly send them off, with the hope that their time with us has left a lasting and positive impression on their experience in visiting the United States.
At the start of 2017 the United States recorded a growth in tourism, but not 3 months later reports across the industry saw major changes (some more than others) with President Trump headlining newsstands on our current administration's political agenda and travel bans.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz expressed concern in a March 6th Reuters article, "We’re not seeing any evidence of any particular decline in (travel to the U.S.) but we’re always worried about how other countries feel about entering our country."
In reading this, I ask, how does the world view the United States in light of these new policies? I believe, whatever political agenda is happening, we in the tourism industry have a responsibility to show the world what travel in the United States looks like and why it’s worth it, even with stricter borders.
Below is a gallery of images from NashCo Photo and P2 Photo + Video that showcase what any international traveler wants to experience on their visit to the United States. It’s about location and what calmly awaits their arrival beyond the politics. We can only hope travelers see it’s worth the potential added effort.