Tourism is good.
We come to work every day to produce this newspaper in the
belief that our readers, the people engaged in the business of
travel and tourism, are engaged in a worthy pursuit.
It is taken as an article of faith around here that tourism
promotes peace and understanding. Yeah, sure, it's what we do and
it's fun and it pays the bills, but travel is a fundamentally
positive experience. It's good for you. It's good for business.
It's good for the country.
Over the years the issue has come up about travel to this or
that trouble spot, and our answer is always the same: The
government should tell us where safety and security issues make
travel unwise, for the good of the travelers. However, any law that
otherwise restricts the right of U.S. citizens to travel is a
disease, not a cure.
We can think of few circumstances where our government would be
justified in categorically refusing to permit its citizens to
travel to a particular country on the basis that U.S. foreign
policy goals, as opposed to the traveler's safety, would be
We said it for the Soviet Union, for its client states in
eastern Europe, for China, for Vietnam, and now it's time to say it
for Cuba. It's past time.
We regret to report that this does not appear to be the
prevailing view in the House of Representatives, where our
lawmakers seem intent on allowing limited agricultural exports with
one hand, while closing the door to any expansion of tourism with
This is the work of ideologues. They've been wrong before and
they're wrong now, and we can only hope that cooler heads will
prevail in the Senate.
Tourism did not bring about the collapse of the Soviet regime,
and it did not bring down the Berlin Wall, but it did no harm and,
hey, some of those kids on the wall were from out of town.