Despite the weak dollar, the number of Brits visiting America is down 11% since 9/11. As this blog by The Guardian suggests, traveling to the US is just too much hassle these days.
The author, Ed Vulliamy, who travels frequently between London and the US, sounds quite angry about the whole thing: “And now here comes a new bag of tricks from Washington’s Department of Homeland Security: demanding to be informed of everything about you – by yourself and your government – before you try and buy a ticket, even if you are merely flying over America,” he writes. “Who the hell wants to apply online for permission to visit the US before even buying a ticket? Why should information on a friend or relative pushing a passenger in a wheelchair to the gate at Prestwick be dispatched to the CIA?”
One of his points especially struck me. He says that “the paranoia and war on terror, of which the new travel measures are part – have robbed and abused the emotional power and dignity of New York’s response to al-Qaeda’s murderous visit that morning: the carpets of flowers, the tributes, the missing posters and peace signs. This kind of language, this paranoia and manipulation of what happened has nothing to do with the real best of America. And godammit, that’s why it is still worth braving.”
It is hard to argue with that.