As the college spring break and vacation season approaches, if this year is like the last Americans will once again be cutting back on vacations and discretionary spending for domestic travel.
The last few years have seen a downturn in tourism throughout the nation, according to statistics published by the United States Chamber of Commerce as reported in several mainstream media reports the last few years.
It appears that is why more and more of state budgets are also going toward advertising.
Remember the Arnold Swartzenegger and Maria Shriver ad that ran during the Winter Olympics (along, of course, with those repeated ad nauseum ads by the Canadian born Americans for British Columbia)?
An observation here from one who formerly did travel with my family for summer vacations, of course when finances allowed it, and California was a state traveled to frequently as living in a neighboring state.
Taxes now for lodging at most hotels throughout the nation in most of those highly traveled tourist states have precluded or made many families reconsider their vacation destinations, California being one of them.
Most states have afforded, of course, their "state actor" local governments to also increase most state sales taxes for hotels and motels in order to garner additional revenue, since the full time residents have howled loud and clear about their tax burdens.
California, as Texas, Florida and quite a few other historically high tourism states have relatively high property taxes already, yet many visitors there do not enter into lease agreements or short terms rentals, but extended stay hotels or motels at exorbitant rates in many desirable locals.
Those states mentioned also have historically high longer term winter visitors, that bulk up the economies, many of them also foreigners from Canada and other colder climes, but are gaining more and more say in local politics and policies in the process to the detriment of the full time state citizens and residents.
But actually with the tourism taxes, most states do afford most of those hotels to waive those taxes after a stay of 30 days or more. Some of these lodgings do, others do not and pocket those taxes apparently to help ease their corporate tax bites.
Since, of course, many states’ sales taxes are not legally required to be paid by the purchaser, but are "transaction privilege taxes" that are actually levied against the retailer, but passed on to those customers who never question those sales taxes and their origins or requirements to pay them.
And many states and cities combined have raised those sales taxes on temporary lodgings to well over 12% to 15% or more.
Which does tend to turn off many Americans, since there are still some in this country that were raised with the religious prohibitions against the payment of "usury" or any interest or "tax" which exceeds the 10% tithing rate.
It appears most of these rates are set for foreign visitors actually, or corporate clients.
Since 9-11, airline travel for discretionary purposes also has been down, since now the time hassle simply boarding a plane in the United States for many in prior generations has turned them off also to airline travel.
Plus, the continuing sporadic threats of terrorism such as which have occurred since 9-11, due in part to failures with respect to international trade agreements for visa waivers on foreign visitors for mostly the hotel and tourism industries, and global corporations’ benefits.
The Chamber of Commerce had or has been running ads here and abroad for their "See America" programs, and lobbied heavily for those visa waivers, even after 9-11 along with those global corporations.
It appears that with all the lobbying efforts and increases in taxation at the state and local levels, most of those ads are being paid for by those extra lodging taxes, but are not having the effect intended.
In other words, you can only bite the American citizen’s hands that feed the majority of those hotel chains in the summer months in this country, without cost.
And the cost is too high for a great many Americans at this point.
As far as discretionary foreign travel, well I guess that was why there were so many, many ads during the Olympics in this country marketing to Americans.
You can build it, but they won’t come if the price is too steep, or the risks too great.
Instead, they’ll stay at a local hotel or resort and enjoy the pools or public or private golf courses or life guards they are already paying for, without having to be strip searched or walk through body scanners in their own country, or paying loan shark rates for a stay at a hotel filled with corporate global executive types yet paying higher rates, and in effect subsidizing their stays in the process, many of whom are exempt from those ursurous "tourism" taxes at that.
And since these Chamber members are "stakeholders" now in U.S.A., Inc. isn’t that a "privilege and immunity" given to corporate clients, especially during the spring and summer vacation months in this country, rather than for those that the Chamber appears to be targeting, although appear to be deaf to the reasons why so many Americans are now camping, or renting RVs instead for the family summer getaway?
Broadening your market base does have a cost ultimately, in a country where globalism has now made many an American feel almost like a stranger in a strange land.