Nervous New Yorkers Say Trump Is Scaring Away Canadians

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

New York City’s tourism promoter says the city’s famous son, President Donald Trump, is scaring away Canadians with all his “America First” talk.

Fred Dixon, who heads NYC & Company, is so concerned that Trump is toxic for tourism that he’s taking a trip to Canada to convince wary citizens of the Great White North that it’s business and pleasure as usual in the the city that never sleeps.

“We recognize there are challenges at the border at the moment,” Dixon told the National Post as he prepared to leave on his trip to Canada, where he will begin his trek with a news conference on Monday in Toronto

Dixon wants to emphasize just how much in common liberal New Yorkers have with people from Justin Trudeau’s Canada.

“We want to remind everyone that New York City is welcoming and that we are a diverse and safe city, a sanctuary city like Toronto, and we value the same things.”

None of the alleged travel fears are based in any empirical evidence but are founded entirely on stories about Canadians vowing to never return to the U.S now that Trump is president.

Dixon claims that Trump’s unsuccessful ban on some Muslim countries has stirred tourist fears. Then last week  there was talk about the Canadian dairy farmers causing havoc for the American industry, and Dixon says it all adds up to predictions that tourism in NYC will be down by 300,000 people in 2017 — 17,000 of them deciding not to come from Canada.

While the drop may seem like a drop in the bucket, Dixon says the numbers could be worse because he’s hearing that fewer people are searching the internet for NYC accommodation.

“It seems like this isn’t going to be a passing situation. We could be in this environment for some time.”

It’s still anyone’s guess whether Trump is actually impacting tourism and tourist dollars, says Allison Wallace, who speaks for the Flight Centre Travel Group. She says they’re actually handling more U.S. travel now than they were a year ago, adding that Canadian travel to the U.S is always subject to the value of the Canadian dollar against its American counterpart.

Follow David on Twitter