A Trump Effect – “Brutal Decline” in Swedish Interest in Traveling to the US

by Swedish liberal –

Swedes are less interested in flying to the US than they have been since the leading Swedish internet site for comparing prices and ordering flight tickets (flygresor.se) started keeping track in 2007. And it all happened after Donald Trump was inaugurated.

This story was published today on the website of Dagens Industri, the most prominent business paper in Sweden. (It’s in Swedish but here’s a link for anyone who wants to use Google translate:  www.di.se/… )

Just to give you the basic facts of the story:

  • Flygresor.se analyzed 2,5 million search requests on the first and second weekends after Donald Trumps inauguration and compared them to the same weekends a year ago, they found that search requests relating to the US were down by 44 percent on the first weekend and by 47 percent on the second weekend.
  • The USA was no longer among the top-20 countries on the site, which has never happened since Flygresor.se started keeping track in 2007.
  • A spokesperson of Flygresor.se calls it a “brutal decline” and speculates that Donald Trump has damaged the US as a tourism brand in Sweden and that concerns from Swedes with dual citizenship (there are for instance more than 70 000 Iranian immigrants in Sweden, refugees from political and religious oppression) may be a factor as well.

Since the favourite US destinations of Swedish tourists are mainly New York, Florida, Nevada (Las Vegas) and California, this will obviously affect blue states more than red ones. Is Sweden an outlier among European nations? Sweden is a bit more liberal, secular and emancipated than the European average I would say but I wouldn’t be surprised if similar trends were soon detected across Europe and other parts of the world.

Personally, I would find it hard to bring myself to travel to the US while Donald Trump is in office. I will give you my reasons (not knowing if they are representative of other Swedes):

  • I am personally offended by Donald Trump. His bullying, misogyny, primitive narcissism, racism (or exploitation of racism to gain a political advantage) and anti-immigration populism is more than I can take on a personal level. I’m not comfortable being in a country led by this man. (Having said this I also want to add that I have great respect and sympathy for blue America, I have lived in blue America, I have dated blue America, I have been in the Redwood Forests of blue America and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for the World.)
  • I am a secular and modern person. To me, the fact that Sweden is in a geographical area which has been dominated by christianity for 1 100 years and that we have been lucky enough to enjoy peace and stability for 200 years doesn’t say anything about me as an individual and I wouldn’t want to receive preferential treatment compared to someone from the seven countries on Donald Trumps list. What if someone on my flight was turned back simply for having citizenship or a history in the “wrong” country, how could I possibly enter the US under such circumstances?
  • I wouldn’t want to send the signal that the election of Donald Trump is a normal thing, that it’s business as usual, when I find it (stand ready for some hyperbole) Earth shattering. It has in fact altered my perspective on humanity, who we are and where we stand from a development point of view.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos