No matter what you think of the 45th President of the United States, it’s undeniable that he’s certainly making his presence felt around the world. From the Middle East peace protests to the South China Sea, the maverick in White House has been hitting the headlines.
Nowhere has the impact of this been felt more than in the travel industry – especially in America. President Donald Trump signed a controversial travel ban in January that restricted the entry of travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. While the order was declared unlawful, it unleashed chaos at airports worldwide as the ban was unevenly implemented.
The uncertainty that followed has led to a sharp drop in flight bookings and waning interest in travel to the US – what many are referring to as a “Trump slump”. Bookings to the US dropped 6.5% globally in the week following the ban. Travel Weekly thinks overall foreign tourism will be impacted to the tune of almost 7%. Online, US-bound flight searches plunged 17%.
According to a report in Frommers, the Global Business Travel Association reported that the activity of business travel declined by nearly $185 million in the week following the ban as well.
So what’s the average Singaporean to do? We say, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!
While others are shunning the US, why not take advantage of the empty planes and discounted hotels and plan a trip to the wonderful Land of the Free (while it’s still free). Here are our top picks – get there while you still can:
- Nashville, Tennessee
This year marks a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse over continental USA. Head to Nashville, Tennessee to witness this rare astrological event, where its location will grant you the longest viewing time of almost 2 minutes 40 seconds on August 21, 2017.
- Juneau, Alaska
This is the furthest you can be from Trump HQ at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and yet still be on the North American continent. Take a cruise to see the spectacular fjords, or ride a tram up majestic Mount Roberts. Either way, the view will be superb.
- Ka’anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Turn off your phone and travel back to a simpler time with a trip to one of Maui’s calmest, cleanest beaches. A perennial contender on top 10 lists, Ka’anapali Beach is breathtakingly beautiful, no matter what you’re into, whether it is swimming, snorkelling, fishing or simply people-watching.
- Joshua Tree National Park
Trippy trees aside, this national park where the Mojave and Colorado deserts collide is known for its world-class climbing and gorgeous hiking trails. After a strenuous day in out in nature, head to nearby Desert Springs to soak your aches away in one of the many charmingly retro hot spring resorts.
- Hill Country, Texas
While Texas might be more famous for its BBQ, its Mediterranean-esque landscape also produces some remarkable wines. Visit Hill Country’s more than 70 soon-to-be-famous wineries before the masses discover them. Don’t miss the award-winning Flat Creek Estate, especially its Double Gold-winning Super Texan Sangiovese.
- Telluride, Colorado
Named best ski resort in 2017 by Conde Nast Traveller, this artsy town boasts copious amounts of powder (170 inches of snow a year on average) and sunshine (240 days a year). Skiers can enjoy more than 127 trails served by 18 lifts – don’t forget to pack your warm winter woollies.
- Chicago, Illinois
Trump might not like it, but this epic Midwestern city combines the best of architecture, culture, jazz and more, all in one affordable package. Take in a game at Wrigley Field, eat a deep dish pizza (or two, if you can manage it), and soak up the sun along the 26 miles of public beach alongside stunning Lake Michigan.