Trade boycott has Canadians buying local, but still traveling to the U.S.

Published On July 17, 2018 | By ornellacariello | International, News

Canadians citizens call to #BoycottUSA and #BuyCanadian in the midst of a trade dispute between the two countries hasn’t slowed down the number of people booking trips to the U.S. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Ornella Cariello

While U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade wars heat up around the world, social media is lighting up with calls to #BoycottUSA and #BuyCanadian, but it seems to be mostly bravado.

The Flight Centre Travel Group, a major travel agency, has yet to see a decline in visitors to the U.S. since the trade spat erupted after a meeting of the world’s economic leaders in Quebec last month.

Indeed, it is seeing more Canadians booking trips to the U.S.

“Currently, we are seeing approximately 15 per cent more bookings to the United States versus the same time last year,” said Allison Wallace, a Flight Centre Travel Group spokesperson.

She said while they heard anecdotally from clients they’ll choose to travel elsewhere, their numbers simply don’t show it. The same happened when clients said they would avoid the U.S. if Trump was elected, but the numbers went up, Wallace said.

“Usually the effects of something like this aren’t immediate, so it’s a bit of a wait and see scenario,” Wallace said. “The only time we’ve seen a significant drop in bookings to the U.S. in recent history was when the American dollar was overwhelmingly high versus the Canadian dollar.”

The International Trade Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Canadian tourists spent nearly $20 billion in the U.S. in 2016.

Donna Maiato, a Toronto TV producer, told Humber News her family does not agree with the American political climate right now but still went on a recent trip to New York City.

“After we booked it, I felt bad about going,” she said. “Canada has enjoyed a good relationship with the U.S., but it has to be mutually beneficial for both sides. Trump can’t bully Canada, and as Canadians we shouldn’t stand for it.”

The call to boycott started with many Canadians refusing to buy U.S. products after the president called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak.”

That happened during the last month’s G7 summit after Trudeau called the U.S. tariffs on Canadian goods “insulting and unacceptable.”

Trump’s insults to Trudeau provoked the anger of Canadians, who are avoiding U.S. retail brands like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart and McDonald’s.

The boycott has been growing in visibility although it may not be producing a noticeable impact just yet.

Some American citizens also don’t agree with the measures adopted by Trump and are supporting Canadians on Twitter.

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