Declining interest in leisure travel to the U.S. could become part of a growing sentiment in Canada to avoid purchasing American products and services.
Since sharp words were exchanged following the G7 summit in Canada last weekend, and subsequent tariff threats were made, Canadian news outlets have been reporting a rise in Canadian shoppers saying they are boycotting products like Florida oranges, Kentucky bourbon and California wine. That boycott may now include vacation travel to America.
In a story published by the Toronto Star this week, 71 percent of readers replying to a survey asking about intent to travel to the U.S. as a result of the current administration, said, “I don’t want to go there now, if at all.” Approximately 21,000 responses were recorded five days after the editorial was published.
In the story, “There are more reasons than ever to not visit the U.S.,” opinion writer Mark Bulgutch said “the moral case for not taking a vacation in the U.S. is stronger than ever.”
In the survey, slightly less than 25 percent of respondents said they were indifferent to the political climate, while nearly 5 percent said they were more inclined to visit the U.S. as a result of the current administration.
To demonstrate the potential impact of a boycott, Bulgutch commented how tourism is a $1.5 trillion industry in the U.S. “Our federal government is doing its part to tell the White House that its tariffs are unacceptable by applying tariffs on American goods like orange juice, mattresses, and bourbon. But only ordinary Canadians can apply some pain to the tourism industry.”
“Go east. Go west. Go north. Enjoy yourself. Just don’t go south. Empty hotel rooms and campsites send a message,” he wrote.
In his piece, Bulgutch implored Canadians to stay home: “It is no sacrifice to see your own country. From Cape Spear, Newfoundland, to Vancouver Island, and from Point Pelee to the top of Nunavut, there is something for everyone. There’s breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant city life, charming villages and towns, hunting and fishing, shopping and dining, museums and art galleries, historic sites and monuments, challenging hiking trails and quiet parks.”
On social media, the hashtag #BoycottUSA increasingly was being adopted by Twitter members stating they would follow Bulgutch’s suggestion.
Twitter member CD Luna tweeted: “Canadians in increasing numbers will #BoycottUSA goods and forego travel to the U.S.”
Mackenzie King, from Toronto, tweeted: “And we're going to keep boycotting and canceling our Vacations. #RespectCanada #BoycottUSA #BuyCanadian”
On Facebook, the discussion was also trending. At HuffPost Canada’s Facebook page, by Friday morning, 189 people had commented on a post about boycotting American products and services. CJ Sherry McBride wrote that, at one point, she was thinking of going to Vegas for her 60th birthday, but now is looking to save up to vacation in Mexico next February.
Whether this online movement will result in real action remains to be seen.
Bulgutch noted in his June 11 article that, despite a similar call to Canadians 18 months ago, in response to the initial efforts by the Trump administration to impose a travel ban on Muslim countries, overnight trips from Canada to the U.S. still rose about 5 percent in 2017, amounting to about 20 million border crossings into America.