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Tourism in the US

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Originally part of Tipping
Is the US tourist friendly?
13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 1 Msg: #43877  

America is a screwed up place, but not "playing ball" as quoted from Reservoir Dogs changes nothing. So don't do it.



For the sake of the tourist industry in the US should the US government make a few changes?

It is not just the tipping demands but there are also threads on this site about ordinary holiday makers being harassed by US authorities on entering the US in the name of fighting terrorism. And the worst in my opinion is the one where some are told that their passports issued by the authorities of countires which are allies of the US are not good enough for the US authorities and they have to pay a fine and even the airline which brought them to the US has to pay a hefty fine.

It seems to be getting so bad(judging by what I read on travel forums and hear from some who have visited the US in the last few years) that I have decided not to visit the US until further notice(until it becomes more tourist friendly, if ever). It just does not seem worth it.

Im shocked. It wasnt that bad the one and only time I was in the US. But that was a long time ago and things can change for the better or the worst over time
Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 2 Msg: #43896  
B Posts: 29
Hi Mell

I think the US has gone overboard on the whole 'border protection' thing. I was there in the early 90s and loved it, but I don't think I'll be rushing back as I don't like being treated like a criminal when I enter a country. I'm a law abiding citizen and so why should they have access to my fingerprints?

i'll go to other 'less friendly' places which are more welcoming.

Cheers Jane Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 3 Msg: #43900  
I generally have a high tolerance for dodgy officials in countries I visit. The last time I decided a country was just not worth it(not including ones at war) was Russia 10 years ago.

I think what I find most off putting about some of the things the US is doing is that they are one of the worlds most influential countries and really should be giving a better example. Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 4 Msg: #43902  
The US has some serious, serious, serious issues.

They run much deeper than tourism, too. There's an attitude in this country that is incredibly unstable, violent, and xenophobic. In a lot of ways, 9/11 (and the election of one of the biggest morons to the presidency TWICE!!!) was an excuse to unleash the anger and frustration of a nation in turmoil. Being 21 years old, I've only just been able to enter the arena of political change (or stasis, as the case may be) and have been appalled by the toxicity and the oppressiveness of the system.

In a lot of ways, the U.S. is more oppressive than a lot of developing nations. The government here institutes hard-line policies for the sake of maintaining a rigid status quo, and if you don't fit in, you're considered a "deviant". Its incredibly unhealthy and getting worse every day. This is why I want to travel AWAY from the States.

What does this mean for tourism? It means that if you (very rightly) see the issues with the United States as directly affecting your experience, you by all means should spend your money in a more worthy place. I don't mean to say "stay away from my country!" in any way, because if it were me running things (and a lot of people in my generation) things would be a LOT different. And certainly, by boycotting the tourism industry by not visiting, you ARE sending a legitimate and useful message that gets more legitimate and useful the more people you convince to do the same thing.

Thats not to say you shouldnt' visit if there is a destination you're incredibly interested in--but you knew that already!

Happy travels all!

Sam

Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 5 Msg: #43907  
Who are you hoping will be the next president of the US, Sam?

I tend to prefer Obama judging by what I have heard about all the candidates so far
Hopefully he will be somebody who can develop good foreign policies when he gets past the inevitable initial clumsiness. I suppose it would be too much to hope that he will be Gandhi esque but I suppose anybody will do better than Bush.....

I am not so much boycotting the US as being irritated by it. The tourist problems(at least) are not quite bad enough for me to boycott over but I dont feel like putting up with some of the annoying things that people have had to put up with lately when visiting the US. 😉
Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 6 Msg: #43908  
The presidential race is irrelevant to me in a lot of ways. the figurehead at the forefront of this bloated and insider-run country is pretty meaningless when it comes down to the crap that any leader can and will get away with during his term. But of course, I feel that things could be "less bad" if Obama had a chance in office, although I don't think he's going to bring the revolution that a lot of people in this country are hoping for. McCain is just more of the same.

You're right, anybody is better than Bush, and if Obama is elected the policies of the governmental agencies to which he will appoint staff will change their restrictive policies, hopefully affecting the way that tourism is run as well. But the bottom line is that sweeping change from within a system run by special-interests is not really possible without a huge change in the way things are done (and perhaps impossible to manifest from within).

So I may be very cynical about the whole thing (and a lot of people my age in this country are), but I think that change is coming whether we like it or not. And I think that the world abroad needs to stop catering to the whims of the United States to force us to get our act together. So while I understand your position of irritation without boycott, I do think that if the inclination ever struck to limit tourism to America, the whole world would turn out a little better as a result.
Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 7 Msg: #43937  
B Posts: 52
Well Sam, I have a different perspective than you.

I wouldn't call the US oppressive. I think that's a little extreme. But being Americans we're allowed to have different opinions (wink).

I think politically we are a country divided right now. It seems like it started sometime during Clinton's second term then continued throughout the Bush presidency. From the looks of the coverage over the current election...we are still a nation divided and I fully expect this election to be another close call.

But in our day to day lives I don't think things are that bad. We're in a recession, which is pinching a little bit, but if you compare the luxury we're used to living with to what people of other countries are used to, I don't think we should be feeling sorry for ourselves. These hard times will not last forever.

Foreigners might find it more of a hassle to get over the border, but the dollar is low right now and this would be a great time to visit. Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 8 Msg: #43940  
Pardon my bluntness, I'm not known for my tact!

The economic situation is pretty irrelevant to what I'm talking about. The oppression I speak of doesn't reside within comparisons of political systems or administration changes, recessions or feeling economically privileged or not. When I say we're oppressed I don't mean that I'm upset at having to pay more for gas.

What I mean is that with this much power, this much privilege, this much ability and intelligence and education we as citizens are still reduced to consumers who are encouraged not to think and solve problems but to feed the machine. Our lives are relegated down to simply working, eating, starting a family, engaging in hobbies that consume resources way beyond what we need and ignoring a world of injustice (oh, and if we're lucky, traveling). At least--this is the story if you're from a very particular demographic.

Its difficult, for instance, if you're a foreigner with darker skin, from an arab nation, or simply part of an organization that in another country is considered legitimate but here is considered "subversive" to get the same protections and privileges as someone who comes to this country who looks, talks, and acts in a mainstream way (read: white, middle to upper class, christian values).

Our day to day lives ARE great. If we're talking about those of us who live in the suburbs, can afford health insurance, are treated fairly by the police, and who choose to suppress their opinions for the sake of perceived security and community harmony.

But if you're my friend from Ethiopia who was stopped at the border for 24 hours, detained without reason, and turned away with a perfectly good visa and passport, or an acquaintance from Harlem in New York who was shot by police for getting out his wallet to show ID, or a woman I know who was raped by her husband who a jury did not convict because they didn't see non-consent as a possibility, or one of my best friends who is in love with another man and has been for years who cannot visit his partner in the hospital or have any of the protections of a married couple and suffers death threats from neighbors near his home in West Virginia, or my SISTER who has completed a 4-year degree from a prestigious University in the North East who cannot afford health insurance and thus goes untreated for cervical cancer until she can pay out of pocket for surgery next year, at which point it may be too late, then yes, things do seem oppressive.

Its all about perspective. How limited is yours?

Remember, foreigners are disdainful of our nation for a reason: they get to see the nation as a whole, they are not blinded by the comfort fostered by our inadequate, corrupt justice system. The weak dollar is not a reason to visit when the culture is not worth absorbing.
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13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 9 Msg: #43944  
B Posts: 52
Sam you asked "It's all about perspective. How limited is yours?"

Good question. I think everyone's perspective is limited in some way, including mine. I might venture to say yours could be limited by your youth.

My perspective however might not be limited in the way you think. I am married to a dark skinned foreigner who escaped his native war torn country on foot with the clothes on his back. He's only been a US citizen for about 10 years. I guess that gives us a different perspective. My husband has seen struggling, he's seen oppression. Even though we have personally experienced racism in this country, even though we have relatives currently without medical care, even though money is tight right now...from my family's perspective I can not agree that the US is an oppressive country. From the stories my husband has shared, I haven't seen oppression yet.

I'm sorry about your sister. My mother in law didn't have insurance either and she had a serious stroke which could have been prevented if she had been seeing a doctor. I would like to see universal health care for this country. Reply to this

13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 10 Msg: #43945  
Apologies, P05. That question was not directed towards you. It was directed towards everyone, including myself. I may be young, but I know that despite my harsh criticisms I have no answers and cannot begin to tell others how to live their lives.

Condolences to your mother-in-law. Health care is something that CAN be fixed by our system. I certainly hope it is.

And yes, I agree, its easy to jump to conclusions, and I'm sorry I did (however unconsciously) with you. There seem to be two kinds of people who believe that America is not oppressive: those blinded by affluence, and those whose lives are touched by true struggle. Your husband's story is a heartening one: that this country could be a haven for him is a testament to the multitudes of good people like yourself who exist in this world who are unwilling to be complacent or fear the unknown. Bravo, my heart goes out to you and yours.

However, I think your story is the exception, and that saddens me. That is what drives me to travel, to learn, and to post passionate comments like the one above. I guess I believe that a person shouldn't have to decide between survival and self-determination.
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13 years ago, August 1st 2008 No: 11 Msg: #43946  
B Posts: 52
Take care Sam, no hard feelings. Keep that passion you have and use it to make our country a better place for everyone.
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13 years ago, August 2nd 2008 No: 12 Msg: #44038  

I wouldn't call the US oppressive. I think that's a little extreme. But being Americans we're allowed to have different opinions (wink).



I think you might be right. Progressive societies go through phases where they go a bit to one extreme before they go back to centre including some improvements. It is a case of two steps forward and one step back. It is natural.

What I mean is that with this much power, this much privilege, this much ability and intelligence and education we as citizens are still reduced to consumers who are encouraged not to think and solve problems but to feed the machine. Our lives are relegated down to simply working, eating, starting a family, engaging in hobbies that consume resources way beyond what we need and ignoring a world of injustice (oh, and if we're lucky, traveling). At least--this is the story if you're from a very particular demographic.



But you do have a right to live your life the way you want to a large extent and to vote for the government you want and speak up for the changes you want to see in your society. Others may object to the way you live but you will not be put in prison and tortured for standing up for your personal belief system. This is the difference between a functioning democracy and an oppressive police state.

or my SISTER who has completed a 4-year degree from a prestigious University in the North East who cannot afford health insurance and thus goes untreated for cervical cancer until she can pay out of pocket for surgery next year, at which point it may be too late, then yes, things do seem oppressive.



Arent doctors obliged by an oath they take to help when somebodies life is at risk? I sure hope that they do are not ignoring this oath in your sisters case. There are some things which should be made more important than money.

Remember, foreigners are disdainful of our nation ....


Well, I for one am only relatively distainful. I expect better of the US in a number of ways but it is by no means as subject to my distain as certain third world torture states. Thing is when I visit such third world torture states and the people justify what their government is doing by saying but the US does this or that I really find myself unable to put forward the advantages of democracy and human rights standards as an ideal. The US needs to polish its diplomatic relations with the rest of the world and set an example of how democracy and peace can make us all more prosperous in the long run.
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13 years ago, August 2nd 2008 No: 13 Msg: #44043  

I may be young...



Nothing wrong with being young and searching for answers. It is the only way to develop your personal political philosophy. Reply to this

13 years ago, August 3rd 2008 No: 14 Msg: #44114  
B Posts: 66
The original question was: is the US tourist friendly?

I am sure there are plenty of things worthy of criticism in the US. But overall I do love this country.

I don't know about you guys, but I have been to countries where I feared for my life. Out of respect, I am not going to say which country I am talking about, but let's just say while standing in the immigration line, just based on the looks I was getting, all I could think of was what if they arbitrarily decide to arrest me for violating some unknown custom, would their jails have clean sheets and showers, will I have to sign a confession in some foreign language I can't speak, etc.

Then, once through immigration, they drew huge X's on my suitcases using permanent markers and I didn't think it'd be smart for me to object. They looked everything but pro tourism to me.

But at the end, once in the country, I found the people to be incredibly hospitable and warm. I returned a dozen times and now I know that you can't always judge a country based on one impression only. If you're just there to find fault with everything, you will have a miserable time anywhere.

What you look for is what you'll find. I personally learned that every country is worth visiting, people are people, and you can have a good time anywhere, including the US ;-) Reply to this

13 years ago, August 8th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #44796  

Traveling to the USA is becoming troublesome to the point of hilarity. I can understand America’s concern about homeland security (especially after 9/11), but come on! Calling up the embassy, scheduling a meeting, having to pay $150 (non refundable and doesn’t guarantee anything really). While doing the paperwork you keep wondering why these people treat you like an idiot (“have you ever been involved in terrorist activities”, “list every country you have EVER visited” and such). During the interview you’re asked all sorts of question and you need convince the embassy representative you’re won’t cause any menace should you be let in the States.

If you pass all of the above you’re finally granted a visa. You fly over, proceed to the customs but you’re all calm because you already have the visa, right? Wrong! What’s you got in the passport is not a real visa yet. You get it from an emigration officer who is the last barricade preventing you from setting you foot on American soil. This guy can turn you back for whatever reason and if he does you have no choice but to catch the next plane home.
Don’t even get me started on the eye scanning thing. And now they won’t let you in because your passport is not good enough for them! It’s been good in all the other countries I visited but it’s not fancy enough for homeland security service.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not anti American or whatever. I went to high school in the US for a year and then I spent a summer working in Yosemite and I had the best time. What I’m trying to say that you’re making too much fuss about letting people in.



From : Big fines if your Passport does not support electronic scanning

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13 years ago, August 27th 2008 No: 16 Msg: #46982  
Japan also takes your picture and finger print at immigration, but you don't feel like you do in America. They are not very friendly in America, the last thing you need after a 9 hour flight.

The tipping thing is soooooooooo annoying. It should be like other countries. Pay a good minimum wage and then if the customer is happy and only then should they have to tip. The whole tipping thing makes America a very unappealing place to visit. I nearly puked in a restaurant while visiting there when I heard a waiter say to a girl in not a very nice way as he put down her bill, sorry check "you have such beautiful eyes". How desperate must he be to get a tip?? Reply to this

13 years ago, August 28th 2008 No: 17 Msg: #47070  

.....as he put down her bill, sorry check "you have such beautiful eyes". ......



LOL
He sure got the timing wrong with that comment. :D Reply to this

13 years ago, January 28th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #61552  

13 years ago, January 28th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #61588  
N Posts: 38
Hi Mell,
I really like everything you have to say throughout the forum so this is in no offense..

Tipping is apart of our culture, just like non-tipping in Asia or Europe. Also, the employees make under min wage, about 3$/hr and depend on tips. It's a checks and balances system meaning they have to earn your tip by meeting your level of satisfaction. If they are awful service, then you don't tip them or tip very little.

In regards to tourism in general in the U.S., some states thrive on that. Central Florida for instance, (where I live) needs tourism to keep the economy running.

As for the regulations, I think that just goes back to 9/11. It's an attempt to protect our country. That's why 9/11 happened, it was so easy to get in and out. I'm just as irritated when I try to travel esp trying to get through security to get on my plane, and for that I blame the degenerates that crashed those planes. But,it is what it is.

Dana Reply to this

13 years ago, January 29th 2009 No: 20 Msg: #61635  

I'm just as irritated when I try to travel esp trying to get through security to get on my plane, and for that I blame the degenerates that crashed those planes.


I suppose, in the interest of fairnes the US immigration interrogate everybody equally whether they are likly or not to be terrorists, 18 year old girls, senior citizens, housewives......

They have no such reservations in India where I have been recently. The armed guards there were waying anybody European looking, women etc through while giving any Indian or Pakistani looking men the full body search and metal detection.
There was a restaurant beside one of the train stations in Delhi. I walked through the metal detector into it and was waved on despite the beeping. Next came a group of young (around 20 years old) Indian(or at least looking Indian). They got the full body patting thing and it was so thorough that they would not even have been able to hide anything in their underwear. When the guard was searching one of them, he gave the guard a return between the legs grab. He then had the cheek to look unimpressed. The guard didnt even blink in reaction. :D I wondered how long he would have been detained if he did that entering the US. Reply to this

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