Trump has gifted something to Mexico that has greatly surprised leaders and refugees on both sides of the border, and perhaps deeply annoyed his fan base. Perhaps none are as elated about the subsequent goodwill and billions of dollars befallen them as Mexicans themselves, such as those in Tijuana where thousands of people had recently fled starvation and violence to this border town, all in hopes of crossing into the land of plenty, America; nearly all denied — and worse.
President Donald Trump’s immigration doctrine he used to rally Americans throughout his 2016 presidential campaign is being appreciated in ways that had never been dreamed. Those ways mean big dollars, too – billions of dollars into the Mexican economy.
World travelers have selected Mexico as the country they will spend their tourist dollars. Mexican tourism has risen so much lately, it edged out Turkey to become the world’s eighth most popular tourist destination, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO).
Mexico moved up from ninth place in the organization’s World Tourism Barometer. It received 35 million visitors last year, compared to Turkey’s 28.3 million.
The Mexican federal government stated it expects to enter the top five tourist destinations soon, given that foreign visitor numbers are up a whopping 50% since 2012.
Subsequently, thanks to Trump, tourism revenues in Mexico were also up last year, rising to US $19.6 billion.
Mexico’s goodwill toward refugees stuck at the border definitely had an unexpected benefit: tourists and locals happily choosing to spend their money there, where the nation and its people opened arms to Haitian refugees and others. Tijuana is the city hardest hit by new immigration policies. Amid humanitarian crises that began in nations far away, Tijuana locals have scrambled to provide and even create jobs for the thousands of people in dire need rejected at the US border, so are settling down in Tijuana. Among the refugees are thousands of Haitians alone.
Most Haitian refugees left their home and country after 2010′s devastating earthquake killed over 250,000 friends and family members — and after America’s empty promises of help, such as billions of dollars worth of Clinton Foundation aid never delivered. Instead, those billions of dollars went into pockets of corrupt contractors, banks, and yes, the Clinton Foundation. (For more on that issue, watch Telesur’s video, The 2010 Earthquake Still Haunting Haiti, the first video above.)
In starvation and ill health mode, most Haitian refugees initially found homes in Brazil and Venezuela. With the closing ceremony fireworks of the 2016 Olympics, so too were their manufacturing and service related jobs. Over five thousand Haitians then embarked on a dangerous pilgrimage through 13 countries to seek asylum in the great U.S. Tijuana is right on the doorstep of this promised land. That is where their journey ended. They learned about a new promised land, one with far fewer means but with bigger hearts. Mexicans rallied to welcome and help provide for the poor Haitians.
“Seeing these young Haitians here helping shoppers on the sales floor makes me very proud to be Mexican,” a woman recently commented to another standing in the check-out line in a Tijuana shop that had hired several Haitian refugees.
“This is what makes life worth living, giving to those less fortunate,” she quietly said, as other Mexican shoppers nodded in agreement.
Meanwhile, travel to the US has “fallen off a cliff” since Trump’s election to the point of being called “The Trump Slump,” according to travel companies, who report a significant drop in flight searches and bookings since his inauguration and his controversial travel ban and early hour ICE raids.
Data recently released showed that already, the US has lost $185m in lost tourist revenue due to Trump.
“Though flight demand to the US dropped in 94 of 122 countries, Hopper found a notable exception in Russia, where flight search demand to the US was up by 88%.” the Guardian recently reported.
Brad Tuttle for Time reported last month that Trump policies on immigration and his Muslim ban, appear to be causing foreign tourists to rethink plans to visit the U.S.
“Search engines reported a steep decline in international travelers looking for flights to America immediately after Trump issued a controversial order banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries in early 2017. Many overseas-based tour operators noticed a sharp dip in bookings to the U.S. around this time as well.
It isn’t just damaging to a major US industry. It’s the economy in general – a $10billion per year loss, according to David Scowsili, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, a private industry group.
“Closing borders risks jobs,” said Scowsili in a speech directed at the administration. “The livelihood of millions of Americans depends on people being able to use planes, trains and automobiles to spend their tourist dollars.”
Photo Above: Among places reaping the recent tourist boom benefits are those in Playes Tijuana. Many Americans love it so much, they invest in homes there and in other nearby Baja California areas. Courtesy Wikimedia
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