#TrumpSlump - Can We Rewrite the Story?

Hilary Lewkowitz | May 29, 2017

Stories of communities welcoming diversity and inclusion exist all over the country. So, let’s use these stories to battle #TrumpSlump.

A Look at the #TrumpSlump

As we head into the summer travel season in the United States, the tourism industry is facing a new challenge - a projected decrease in international travelers. The decline of international arrivals stems from President Trump’s recent Executive Orders banning travelers from several countries. The byproduct of the travel ban very quickly became known in the tourism industry as the #TrumpSlump. What does the #TrumpSlump look like in numbers? According to Tourism Economics, the United States is projected to lose 6.3 million visits in 2017. A decrease in international visitors this large means over 10 billion dollars lost in domestic spending.

The projected loss of international travelers to the U.S. is not limited just to individuals based in the 6 banned countries. Travelers are now deciding on their own terms to cancel trips to the U.S. or remove U.S. destinations from their bucket list. Why?

The travel ban created a culture of fear among international travelers. Stories about nightmare holdups in immigration have flooded the internet - stories like that of Australian children’s book writer, Mem Fox, people with no connection to the travel ban. Publicized U.S. customs and immigration issues have made tourists from all over the world afraid to travel. News reports show cancelled trips, decreases in online travel searches, as well as declines in airline bookings.

The complications to lower international arrivals don’t just stop at the customs and immigration line. With fewer available H-2B visas, summer seasonal businesses are scrambling to find replacements for this short-term workforce. Now, the international tourism marketing agency, Brand USA, is proposed to be eliminated in President Trump’s new budget. As the list of complexities continues to grow, so does the opportunity for the industry to come together and find creative solutions.


Let's rewrite the story

As 2017 continues to unravel, the travel industry is mostly reacting to #TrumpSlump projections on international arrivals and domestic spending. Although we will not know the full effect until the end of the year, now is the time to influence negative perceptions. Stories of communities welcoming diversity and inclusion exist all over the country. So, it is only a matter of making these voices stand out amidst what is currently being projected to the world. We looked at three examples of how content marketing can be used as a solution to change global perceptions and  help alleviate #TrumpSlump:


traditional Marketing campaigns

Traditional marketing campaigns can reach a larger audience, therefore influencing perceptions in a shorter time period. Recently, Los Angeles launched, “Everyone is Welcome”, a new DMO marketing campaign aimed to combat negative perceptions related to the travel ban. The marketing campaign features a short-film highlighting the diversity of the city and ends with the “Everyone is Welcome” tagline in several languages. In a 6-week period, the digital and social campaign is aiming for 100 million impressions.


Character-driven storytelling

Digital storytelling that highlights the unique characters of a place can be used to highlight a destination’s welcoming nature. GLP Films visited Salt Lake City in 2014 to produce a series of films about the incredible work of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC is responsible for settling refugees in cities around the USA.  The Salt Lake City area is host to over 50,000 resettled refugees.  The short-film focuses on the New Roots Refugee Farm, a place where refugees can come to grow food, learn, teach and create community. This film can be used as an example to show how a diverse community came together to create an atmosphere of hope and resilience.


user generated content

Social platforms are a great place to crowdsource stories of diversity and inclusion. In 2014, Airbnb used User Generated Content (UGC) on Instagram to help create a new video marketing campaign. Using the hashtag #airbnbshorts, Instagram users uploaded their 15 second videos on why travelers should visit their destination. The winner of the crowdsourcing campaign received several travel-related prizes. Then, Airbnb had a wealth of content to use in their marketing campaign along with the buzz created around the crowdsourcing campaign.

Now is the time for the travel industry to come together and make our voices heard. To show global travelers what we represent - respect, inclusion, diversity, community, and compassion. In this climate of unknown and fear, let's use our digital and social platforms as a tool to let our voices be heard. How will you show the world what you stand for?

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