04:22 GMT +306 December 2019
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    No Wall Necessary: 'Trump Effect' Eliminates Swedish Tourism to US

    © AFP 2019 / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
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    As US President Donald Trump has soared to record levels of unpopularity in Sweden, Swedes have been found to have fallen out of love with the US. While there is no love lost between the two, America as such has become a much less appealing tourist destination for the Scandinavians.

    While Donald Trump has never been the Swedes' favorite from the get-go of the US presidential election campaign, his recent habit of using Sweden as a scarecrow to illustrate Europe's failed efforts to tackle the migrant crisis seem to be the final straw.

    Whereas Swedish tourism to the US has been decreasing since Trump's inauguration, the recent weeks have seen Swedes turning their backs on the US as a tourist destination en masse, Tommy Svansson of the Osby company, which has specialized in US travels for decades.

    "In the last four weeks we saw a particularly large drop, especially for New York," tourist bureau Ving CIO Magdalena Öhrn told Swedish Radio, citing a 10 percent decline for the whole US and a 40 percent drop for New York in particular.

    Both Swanson and Öhrn ascribed this effect to Trump's attitude to the outside world.

    "I believe it's a Trump Effect. While much is indeed happening across the globe, I do not think people find it uncomfortable to travel to the United States. I do not think people are afraid either, but rather it's a protest against the new president," Magdalena Öhrn said.

    At present, it remains to be seen whether it is a temporary effect or a more permanent bilateral phenomenon, given Trump's recent spate of anti-immigrant laws, which do not affect Sweden directly but nevertheless leave an impact on liberal-leaning Swedes.

    "Of course, it depends on politics, whether he [Trump] calms down his statements, or chooses to escalate them. I believe the coming months will still be somewhat doubtful," Tommy Swanson said.

    As Sweden has become a mainstay in Trump's tirades, Swedish approval ratings of the US president have dropped to record levels. In a recent March poll by pollster Novus, 80 percent of Swedes were found to hold negative views of Trump, with only 10 percent viewing him in a positive light.

    Political scientist Sören Holmberg from the University of Gothenburg called these figures "clearly the most negative for some time." While Holmberg acknowledged former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russian leader Vladimir Putin as traditional record-holders in Swedes' antipathies, he nevertheless admitted that Trump was "in another league," Swedish Radio reported.

    Polls suggested Trump's wide unpopularity across Europe even before he was elected. For instance, 92 percent of Swedes expressed no confidence in Trump in a poll by the Pew Research Center in July 2016.

     

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    Donald Trump, United States, Scandinavia, Sweden
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