Has Trump influenced tourism in America

See America First: How Trump's Nationalism Affects Global Tourism

What have Brexit, the AfD and the America-First-Campaign shared by Donald Trump? They all want to keep international cooperation - in the form of alliances such as the EU or NATO - as low as possible and advocate an isolationist, nationalist policy.

One of the world's largest industries, however, depends on international cooperation: tourism. The economic psychologist Florian Kock and his team investigated whether Americans travel according to motto in the times of America First. At the beginning of the 20th century, Americans used the slogan for visiting domestic national parks "See American First" advertised. The results of the study show: This slogan could work again today.

Those who differentiate between “we” and “them” tend not to leave the USA to go on vacation

“The study shows that our political stance influences how we choose our holiday destination,” explains the 30-year-old scientist. The study, which he wrote together with a team of international colleagues, is part of his doctoral thesis at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She was featured in the independent American science magazine Journal of Travel Researchreleased. Kock examined whether the political phenomena patriotism and ethnocentrism, i.e. an individual's prejudice towards foreign groups, influence our travel behavior.

Psychologists have found that people prefer to consume in such a way that their consumption behavior corresponds to their moral convictions. This relationship is called congruence. When we book a trip, we also consume something, for example an overnight stay in a hotel or a holiday apartment, food and other activities. As Kock and his team show, the desire for congruence also plays a role when patriots book a trip.

I make my money here and I spend it here. We Americans have to stick together. ”- a study participant

In total, Kock and his team surveyed 684 Americans who spend their vacation in the USA instead of booking a trip abroad. The responses of the participants showed that especially people who differentiate between “we” and “them” - that is, US-Americans and non-US-Americans - prefer to spend their vacation in the USA.

Kock explains: "This distinction between" our nation "and" other nations "is also made by Donald Trump over and over again." In social science, the ingroup-outgroup phenomenon is called.

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The responses of the study participants also showed that Americans who spend their vacation in the USA attach great importance to supporting their home country economically. They also want to show solidarity with Americans who are employed in the tourism industry.

“I'm not spending my vacation in Canada. I make my money here and I spend it here. We Americans have to stick together ”. This is what a study participant said to Kock and his team. Another said: “Traveling to other countries only makes other countries richer. These people don't come to the US either, so why should we go to them and leave our money with them? "

Indirectly, domestic tourism has a negative impact on tourism in other countries

The study cannot answer how widespread such travel behavior, which Kock also calls “ethnocentric tourism”, is. First of all, the study proves that there is a connection between tourism and ethnocentrism, explains Kock.

The study also shows, however, that Americans who prefer to vacation in their own country for the reasons already mentioned have no problem receiving tourists from other countries: “Because foreign tourists have a positive effect on them own economy ”, Kock explains the result, which may sound contradicting at first sight.

What the participants in the study feel about other nations was not examined in the study: “One can also be a patriot without rejecting other nations,” emphasizes Kock. The decision to go on vacation exclusively in one's own country and only support domestic tourism nevertheless has an indirect, negative effect on other countries.

Do tourists like to travel to a country whose president rules according to the motto "America First"?

And how does it look the other way round? Is tourism flourishing in countries that are emphatically nationalistic and patriotic? Do foreign tourists feel just as welcome in the US as they did two years ago?

In the USA, the number of international tourist arrivals fell: In 2017, fewer international tourists traveled and expected to the USA than in the previous year. “There are clear indications that there is a connection between nationalistic and xenophobic tendencies in the population of a tourist region and the reduced attractiveness of this tourist region,” says Kock. In contrast to the USA, the number of international tourist arrivals increased worldwide in 2017 compared to the previous year.