One gets the feeling, following the flow of overseas news reports on the reaction of the tourism industry abroad and in the United States, that the Administration of President Donald Trump has already done enough damage to the U.S. tour and travel industry with the starts and stops it has made with its immigration policy, and that it is too late to repair it in 2017 and possibly 2018 as well.
So, it will likely make little difference if a new and different travel ban executive order from the President will improve matters. On Jan. 27, 2017, much of the global tour and travel industry was taken by surprise when Trump signed an executive that, among other provisions, would have kept refugees from entering the USA for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations out for three months. The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. It did not help the Administration that there was confusion in the ban’s rollout, as well as a turnabout, as it related to green card holders and other provisions.
Within two weeks a U.S. District Court judge and an Appellate Court in San Francisco had overturned the travel ban. The Trump Administration indicated that it would come out with a 2.0 version of a ban—it was supposed to have been ready by last week—while there has been confusion as to whether the Administration would appeal the Appellate Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then, on March 3 in Seattle, U.S. District Judge James Robart granted a two-week extension to the U.S. Justice Department in the lawsuit alleging that President Trump’s immigration order is blocking efforts by legal residents to reunite with their children who are trapped in war-torn countries.
(On March 6, President Trump signed a new travel ban executive order that has the following changes: (1) The new ban prohibits travelers from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. Iraq is no longer on the list. (2) Valid visa holders are not affected. (3) It removes the indefinite restrictions on Syrian refugees. Instead, the policy halts all refugee admissions to the U.S. for four months. (4) It stripped language that would have given preference to religious minorities — such as Christians from the Middle East — once refugee resettlement resumes. (5) The new ban becomes effective in 10 days, March 16—not immediately.)
No matter. By mid-February, news reports from abroad and in the USA were flush with details about the prospective loss of travelers to the United States, especially from key European markets and from Mexico. While subsequent reports have lacked the data projections of the first stories of the impact of what has come to be referred to as the “Trump Slump” (this includes the impact even before the travel ban of some of the President’s remarks about immigrants), there has been a steady stream of accounts which indicate that the “Slump” is real and that it seems to have gained traction in the past month. Some examples follow.
Quick Take—Some of the Impacts of President Donald Trump and His Proposed Travel Ban
|Source of action or information||Impactdirect and/or indirect|
|European Union||On March 1st, the EU passed non-binding resolution declaring that U.S. citizens should be refused visa-free access to the EU in response to American visa rules affecting citizens from five of the EUs 28 countriesa Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romaniaare not yet part of the U.S. Visa Waiver program.|
|Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics||The annual number of foreign visitors to the United States could fall by 6.3 million between 2016 and 2018 because of reactions to Trumps words and actions.|
|Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics||A loss of 6.3 million visitors by next year translates into $10.8 billion in lost revenue, including what he calls "Trump-induced" losses.|
|Fred Dixon, president and CEO of New York City & Company||The city now expects to draw 300,000 fewer foreigners this year than in 2016. This will cost businesses in the city that cater to tourists at least $600 million.|
|Kayak, meta-search site||Searches by UK citizens for US destinations had fallen off a cliff, with hotel prices in cities like San Francisco, New York and Las Vegas dropping between 32-39 percent in recent survey.|
|Henry Harteveldt, analyst, Atmosphere Research Group||Research conducted weeks before the executive order took place showed that in 15 countries around the world about 20 percent of the respondents reported that as a result of the presidential election they were either somewhat or highly unlikely to travel to the U.S. or had actually cancelled a planned trip.|
|Reportur.mx, Mexican travel trade publication||Mexican tour operators say destinations such as Las Vegas, New York, San Antonio and Los Angeles, are the most affected and operators can feel even a decrease in sales of their programs of seven percent. (Another decisive factor is the exchange rate.)|
|U.S. Travel Associations executive vice president, public affairs, Jonathan Grella||It would be a shame to undermine the economic progress of the Trump administrations early days by driving travelers away from the U.S. and into the arms of our competitors. We hope that President Trump and his advisors can avoid repeating their earlier mistakes in (a) revised executive order |
|Forward Keys, Valencia, Spain-based air travel analyst||Flight passengers from the seven Muslim-majority nations named by Trump were down by 80 percent in the last week of January and first week of February,|
|Philadelphia CVB||In the last week of February, Philadelphia lost out on an international meeting with 3,000 attendees that decided to go to Canada or Mexico instead.|
|Daniel Gross, Slate.com||Customs agents have detained, deterred, or interrogated an Australian childrens book author, a retired soccer star from Trinidad and Tobago, and a French historian. Theres a not an insubstantial chance that if you come to the U.S. to stay in a hotel, attend a conference, make a plane connection, or sit on a beach, you might get treated horribly.|
|Ernest Wooden, president of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, citing research provided by Tourism Economics.||Los Angeles could lose about 800,000 international visitors and $736 million in spending over the next three years "as a direct result" of Trump's orders, most due to reduced travel by Mexican nationals.|