“It’s a weird time to be in the travel industry,” understates a well-established, U.S.-based freelance travel writer and editor. Caught between a rock (slumping travel demand in the U.S. due to new, restrictive policy directives) and a hard place (threats of tighter visa rules for U.S. travelers overseas), he laments how “The current climate would make any travel writer – really any American who travels for a living – paranoid. For us family travel writers, however, the stakes are even higher.”
At issue today in the U.S. are the now-infamous shifts in U.S. immigration policy spearheaded by the new American administration over the last two months. These include vigorous enforcement of laws governing some immigrants already in the U.S. and the pair of executive orders (now both blocked) temporarily banning travel to the U.S. by the citizens of several Muslim-majority nations and all refugees.
These are important because, in the best of circumstances, “For family travel to be transformational, the message must be warm, open, and hospitable. Parents do not, and should not, expect anything else. In this case, the [travel bans] may be giving them pause,” remarks another family travel writer and publisher.
But troubles are brewing outside the U.S. too, with visa-policy brinksmanship ordered by the European Parliament and complex rules for families visiting places like South Africa and Botswana.