Tourism Trade-off

Gavin Newsom is coming out as a big-time supporter of tourism, but not on his home turf. The California governor recently visited El Salvador and offered “mutual support” to boost tourism in that Central American country. The beaches in El Salvador, Newsom explained, have “some of the best waves in the world” and surfers should flock there. Promotion of a foreign nation’s tourist industry was not the only aspect of the trip Californians might find odd.

As Katy Grimes notes in the California Globe, California bans travel of state employees to 10 U.S. states with social policies that displease Golden State lawmakers. Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently extended the ban to South Carolina, because it allows faith-based groups to withhold adoption services over moral objections, and that this allegedly discriminates against the LGBTQ community. As Grimes points out, El Salvador “actively discriminates” against LGBTQ people and bans abortion, “prosecuting it regardless of the female’s age, whether she’s a victim of rape or incest, or to save her life.” By all indications, the travel ban of AB 1887, does not apply to Gov. Newsom, who also overlooked another reality.

El Salvador is the murder capital of the world, with a murder rate 22 times that of the United States. As Californians may recall, last month the governor granted a reprieve to all 737 death-row inmates, the worst of the worst. All were convicted by a jury of their peers beyond reasonable doubt and had exhausted their appeals. Newsom attended none of the trials and produced no new exculpatory evidence. Given that remarkable record, Californians should not be surprised that Newsom sees El Salvador’s sky-high murder rate as no obstacle to tourism. On the other hand, record levels of excrement on the streets of San Francisco might deter tourists from visiting the city by the Bay.

Meanwhile, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also promoted tourism, but in the state of California, not in El Salvador. Tourism was not the theme of Gov. Jerry’ Brown’s 2017 trip to China, one of the most polluted nations in the world. Brown told Communist officials that “China’s the leader,” in the fight against climate change.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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