How Will Political Events of 2016 Shape The Future Of Travel?
2016 was defined by the United States Presidential election and Great Britain choosing to leave the European Union by voter referendum. Both elections were driven by the electorate choosing a candidate or policy that were in opposition to the movement toward a more global community. Are we heading back towards a more fractured world and how will these events affect travel?
One of the major issues that propelled Trump into the White House was his stance on immigration. Specifically his desire to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border and making statements about banning Muslims from entering the United States were immensely popular with his base. While banning someone based on religion is virtually impossible in practice, policies could be enacted that would make it much more difficult for citizens that have large Muslim populations from visiting the U.S.
In this scenario any country could return the favor in kind and impose new restrictions on U.S. citizens attempting to visit their country. New policies that force travelers to obtain a Visa or undergo more stringent border controls will add cost and more planning to a trip, which will discourage some from making it altogether.
In addition to possibly making travel more difficult, A Trump presidency could also see tougher regulations on foreign companies, including those in travel. An America first economic policy aimed at rewarding American companies over foreign ones could cause a spike in airfare as foreign airlines have been a primary driver in lowering international prices.
Across the pond, the so called Brexit caused shockwaves throughout Europe that will be felt for years to come. In addition to the European Union losing one of it’s biggest financial contributors, it caused factions in many countries to voice their intent for also leaving the E.U. While no other country in Europe appears to be close to being the next to exit, the E.U. is in a more perilous position than it has been in a while.
Even if the E.U. does not break apart, several countries have made it known that they plan on instituting more border controls to restrict the flow in and out of their country as a protection against terrorism. Is it possible we are seeing the beginning of the end of a borderless Europe as countries look for ways to increase their security as well as create identity which many feel they are losing in a united Europe? While the answer is likely no, the uncertainty has people nervous at the prospect.
Travelers always have to take into account current events while on the road. How will the political winds of change of 2016 affect the world going forward? Only time will tell, but the best way to find out is by getting out there and finding out yourself.