Travel Newsstand for Dec. 7-21, 2017
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Read all about it! International travel to the United States falls--but not as fast as Trump's hotel chain loses properties. The Supreme Court says Travel Ban 3.0 can go into effect while it is litigated in lower courts. The Brexiteers have made baseless financial claims about everything. Why New York's subways are failing. Tales of food (and ovens). And more.
For Good or Bad, This Week's Trump Travel News Dump
Love him or dislike him, confused by him or understand him, Donald Trump sure is roiling the travel world. For good or bad, for crazy or sane, here is what happened this week in what we can only call Trump Traveland.
International travel to the United States fell about 4 percent during the first six months of 2017, which roughly corresponds to Trump's first six months as president. Worse, notes the Associated Press, travel to the United States fell 6.7 percent in June. The largest declines? Tourism from the Middle East and Mexico.
Owners of the Trump Hotel in Panama want to strip Trump's name and oust Trump's company as managers. If the Panamanians are successful, it would be the third hotel this year to dump the Trump name. The complaints are always the same: low occupancy and falling business due to Trump's policies and statements. Trump's hotel in New York's Soho district cut ties just two weeks ago.
One of the few Trump-branded hotels doing well financially, the Washington property in the Old Post Office building just a few steps from the White House, is also under the gun. Washingtonian magazine says the Mueller investigation's turn toward Deutsche Bank could ensnare the Washington hotel. Trump borrowed $170 million from Deutsche Bank to fund the conversion of the post office.
Speaking of real estate woes, one of Trump's most important clients in New York, Niketown (above), is bailing. Nike cut a deal to leave the 65,000 square feet it rents from Trump for new digs a few blocks away. Why is Niketown, Trump's largest retail tenant, abandoning Trumpland? Seems to be an open question.
If things haven't gone well for private-citizen Trump, it was a better week for President Trump. The Supreme Court ruled that Trump Travel Ban 3.0 can go into effect while lower courts decide on its legality. The third iteration of the ban is the least Muslim-centric and also includes strictures on visitors from North Korea and Venezuela. Arguments over the latest executive order are already underway.
Brexit Turns Out to Be a Literal Leap in the Economic Dark
Forces urging a Brexit in last year's referendum insisted that Britain separating itself from the European Union would bring an economic windfall. There was even a bus driving around the country with a bold claim plastered on its side: Britain sent 350 million pounds a week to the EU and the money should be repatriated and spent on the country's National Health System. Turns out the so-called Brexiteers literally made up all of the numbers and all of their claims. David Davis, the British Minister for Brexit, was forced to admit in Parliament that the government of Prime Minister Theresa May had done no assessment of Brexit's impact on major segments of the economy. His admission this week directly contradicts earlier claims by the May government when it heeded the results of the referendum and started the Brexit process. Lucky for us that Reuters is tracking the effect of Brexit on the British economy in real time. You can examine its charts and graphs on the process here. And, oh, by the way. If anything, Britain is going to be paying for a Brexit for years to come. The final tally? At least 50 billion pounds if May's agreement with the EU comes to fruition.
Food File: Easy-Bake Ovens, ATL Dining and Rome's Best
Leave it to the fine folks in Minneapolis to take childhood toys and turn them into adult obsessions. As the Star-Tribune reports, the walls of the newly opened Lucky Oven Bakery are decorated with dozens of Easy-Bake Ovens. The bakery's owner said she used to make eight-layer cakes in her childhood Easy-Bake Oven. "It would take pretty much all day," she admitted. ... Schlepping through Atlanta-Hartsfield looking for a meal? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has put together what it calls the "complete" guide to dining in and around the airport. ... Calabria-born Francesco Mazzei, one of London's star Italian chefs, picks his favorite restaurants in and around Rome and Lazio.
Open Skies: Gingrich In, Garbage Out. Democrats Suck, Too.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is no dummy. But he ties himself into intellectual knots and throws in some whoppers and lots of distortion in an Op-Ed piece that claims Gulf Carriers are breaking free-trade and bilateral aviation agreements with the United States. Gingrich is from Georgia. Delta Air Lines, which is desperate to hobble the Gulfies, is based in Georgia. Do the math--and the geopolitics. ... Still, it's a big mistake to suggest that only a GOP stalwart such as Gingrich is playing the ugly game. The anti-Gulf Carrier brigade is well-stocked with Democratic Party operatives, too. ... Despite the big-money lobbyists from both parties doing the bidding of Delta (and, to a lesser extent, United and American airlines), robbing business travelers blind is a hard road to hoe. One example: a hideous special Gulf Carrier tax slipped into the new GOP tax "reform" legislation. The sponsor of the targeted tax? Johnny Isakson, the Georgia senator who represents Delta better than his state. The nasty provision was dropped from the final Senate version.
Tight Connections ...
Smart bags, dumb policy U.S. carriers have decided "smart" bags with lithium-ion batteries should not fly in cargo holds. Which reminds you how insane Homeland Security was when it attempted to force us to check our electronics.
The little engine that couldn't New York City's sprawling subway system is crumbling and causing visitors and local residents no end of headaches. The New York Times offers a deep dive on how things got so bad.
No-show at a trade show The entire aviation world was gathered in Dubai last month expecting Emirates Airline to order another big batch of Airbus A380s. Emirates is the largest operator of the double-decked leviathan and the order was due to give the struggling aircraft a much-needed boost. But the deal fell apart at the literal last minute and Emirates ordered Boeing aircraft instead. Here's what went wrong. -- Joe Brancatelli
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