New US poli­cies could hit tourism

Sunday Times - - WORLD - Bloomberg

and in­creas­ingly em­bat­tled at home. Trump retweeted a flurry of praise about his move on Fri­day morn­ing, all de­liv­ered by po­lit­i­cal al­lies, from Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to Repub­li­can house ma­jor­ity leader Kevin McCarthy.

The White House hit back at crit­i­cism of Trump’s de­ci­sion to scrap the ma­jor global cli­mate deal, ac­cus­ing Europe of try­ing to “shackle” the US econ­omy — and re­fus­ing to ac­knowl­edge that cli­mate change is real.

With the US vir­tu­ally iso­lated on the world stage, a string of ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials went on the of­fen­sive to jus­tify the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion to aban­don the 195-na­tion Paris deal curb­ing global emis­sions.

Trump’s top cli­mate ad­viser, Scott Pruitt, was in­dig­nant.

“The world ap­plauded when we joined Paris. And you know why? I think they ap­plauded be­cause they knew it would put this coun­try at a dis­ad­van­tage.

“The Euro­pean lead­ers, why do they want us to stay in?

“They know it will con­tinue to shackle our econ­omy,” said Pruitt, who serves as Trump’s En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency ad­min­is­tra­tor.

That com­bat­ive tone came amid a wave of bit­ter con­dem­na­tion from around the world and as Trump and his aides re­fused to say whether he be­lieves cli­mate change is real, in line with the global sci­en­tific con­sen­sus.

Trump ig­nored the ques­tion when asked by jour­nal­ists dur­ing an un­re­lated event with law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, al­though he did joke that Thurs­day’s de­ci­sion had proved “con­tro­ver­sial”.

Along with Trump, Pruitt and White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer were among those who re­fused to an­swer re­peated ques­tions on the sub­ject.

In­stead, Pruitt lashed out, say­ing “We have noth­ing to be apolo­getic about as a coun­try” — de­spite the US be­ing the world’s sec­ond-largest emit­ter of green­house gases af­ter China.

As well as a global out­cry, Trump’s de­ci­sion prompted a do­mes­tic back­lash, with state gov­er­nors, city may­ors and pow­er­ful com­pa­nies al­ready draw­ing up plans to meet the Paris pact’s green­house gas emis­sion tar­gets.

At least two Repub­li­can gov­er­nors an­nounced they were part­ner­ing with Demo­cratic-run states to com­bat cli­mate change.

US bil­lion­aire, phi­lan­thropist and UN en­voy for cli­mate change Michael Bloomberg pledged $15-mil­lion (about R192-mil­lion) to sup­port the Paris agree­ment’s co­or­di­nat­ing agency if nec­es­sary — the sum it stands to lose should the US refuse to pay its share.

Merkel, the EU’s most pow­er­ful leader, pledged “more de­ci­sive ac­tion than ever” to pro­tect the cli­mate af­ter Trump’s “highly re­gret­table” de­ci­sion.

Trump’s an­nounce­ment comes less than 18 months af­ter the cli­mate pact was adopted, the fruit of a hard-fought agree­ment be­tween Beijing and Wash­ing­ton un­der for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s lead­er­ship.

The Paris agree­ment com­mits sig­na­to­ries to ef­forts to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions that cause global warm­ing, which is blamed for melt­ing ice caps and glaciers, ris­ing sea lev­els and an in­crease in ex­treme weather events.

They vowed to take steps to keep the world­wide rise in tem­per­a­tures “well be­low” 2ºC from pre-in­dus­trial times and to “pur­sue ef­forts” to hold the in­crease un­der 1.5°C. — © PEO­PLE in the US travel busi­ness have warned that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s iso­la­tion­ist rhetoric and tougher border con­trols are go­ing to dis­cour­age for­eign trav­ellers.

Mo­bile app Foursquare, for ex­am­ple, re­ported last week that among its users the share of in­ter­na­tional tourism to US leisure lo­ca­tions had been de­clin­ing since Oc­to­ber 2016.

For­wardKeys, a travel data provider, re­ported this week that north­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer book­ings for travel to the US were down 3.5% over last year — while book­ings were up for all other ma­jor des­ti­na­tions.

Still, there is no sign yet of the kind of dra­matic fall-off in travel to the US that fol­lowed 9/11 or the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis. —

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