Fear as a Tax: How an Overconcern with Security can Distort the Face America Shows the World
Publication Date: January 2008
Author(s): Josef Joffe
Series: Hoover Digest
Keywords: National Security; Terrorism; Travel
Coverage: United States
The fear that Al-Qaeda and its ilk have bestowed upon America is costing us. As we beef up national security in the shadow of "what if" fears, the journal Tourism Economics offers the following observation: “The perception that U.S. visa and entry policies do not welcome international visitors is the largest factor in the decline of overseas travelers.”
In November 2007, the Commerce Department reported a 17 percent decline in overseas travel to the United States between September 11, 2001, and 2006. (There are no firm figures for 2007 yet, but there seems to have been an uptick.) That slump has cost the country $94 billion in lost tourist spending, nearly 200,000 jobs, and $16 billion in forgone tax revenue—and all while the dollar has kept dropping.