While we haven’t reported on the subject for three weeks, it does not mean that there have been no new developments. Since then, the impact of President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on travel to the U.S., as well as the response to his comments regarding specific country markets continues to grow at a steady, deliberate pace. Here is a synopsis of what has happened of late:
—Tourism Economics, the Philadelphia-based U.S. travel forecasting firm that partners with the UK’s Oxford Economics, released figures indicating that, because of the travel ban(s), the U.S. will realize some 4.3 million fewer international travelers this year. This translates into a revenue loss of $7.4 billion. An additional 6.3 million visitors and $10.8 billion that they would have spent will be lost in 2018, it estimated.
—Apparently because of or related to President Trump’s campaign rhetoric regarding Mexicans, the number of visitors to Canada from Mexico increased nearly 70 percent in December, to 30,268 from 18,095 in the same month a year earlier. And for January 2017, visitors to Canada from Mexico reached increased 51 percent vs. January 2016.
—The Toronto District School Board—it is Canada’s largest school board—will end class trips to the U.S. due to Trump’s travel restrictions. The move was driven by fears that students will be unfairly stopped at the border because of their heritage or country of birth. Explaining the move, Ryan Bird, spokesman for the school board, said, “We don’t want to put our students in a position where they are traveling to the U.S. with their friends and classmates and then be denied entry to the U.S. for no legitimate reason. Equity, inclusiveness, fairness are key principles for us as a school board.”
—A according to the results of a survey of 250 colleges and universities conducted by the American Associations of Collegiate Registrars and released during the third week of March, nearly 40 percent of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students. The biggest decline is in applications from the Middle East.
—Graduate schools appear to be feeling the impact the most, with nearly half reporting drops. “Our deans describe it as a chilling effect,” said Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools.
—The market research firm ForwardKeys found inbound travel to the U.S. flat from Jan. 28 through March 25. At the same time, the Airlines Reporting Corporation found a relatively low increase of 0.9 percent in inbound travel to the U.S. during the first seven weeks of this year, compared to larger gains in each of the previous two years. “This is not a particularly encouraging statistic for the USA,” said Olivier Jager, CEO of Forward Keys.
—According to the Mexican travel trade news portal, Volaris—it is budget airline largely responsible for an increase in recent years of air traffic to the USA from Mexico—has decreased its seat offerings to the United States, reducing frequencies on five routes to the United States and canceling one. The carrier will reduce its offering to the USA by up to 6 percent this year. For the sake of comparison, the company has reported February 2017 overall passenger growth of 14 percent, year-on-year.
—A March 23rd webinar sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association that featured Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics (see above) and other travel analysts agreed that the outlook for inbound travel to the USA is not a positive one. One participant, Ted Sullivan, vice president, resorts and destination analytics at ADARA, pointed to analyses showing that, globally, searches for U.S. travel destinations had declined in the immediate wake of the Trump travel. The tour and travel industry will have a better idea as spring progresses, to determine if the decline in searches converts to a decline in bookings in travel to the U.S.