Trump’s New Travel Ban Already Making International Waves in Tourism
President Trump’s travel bans are making waves, both domestically and abroad. The new order imposes a 90-day entry ban to the U.S. for nationals of Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. It goes into effect March 16. It’s also stirring a great deal of uncertainty in the travel industry about what a Trump presidency means for travel from a symbolic, cultural and economic perspective.
How are the biggest players in travel responding to the ban? Is it affecting tourism numbers from the US? The articles and analyses below provide a jumping off point for you to discover what the travel ban means for your hotel.
In a move that many speculate is a response to Trump’s protectionism, the EU is threatening to remove visa-free travel for Americans within Europe. This is ostensibly due to America failing to agree visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – as part of a reciprocity agreement.
However, the fact that the vote happened now, rather than 3 years ago (when the European Commission discovered the United States wasn’t meeting its obligation), is telling.
It’s not all dark and stormy, though! Hotel construction is booming across Europe. 69,000 hotel rooms are under construction, and 40,000 were built last year. Whether those rooms will be filled, however, remains to be seen.
President Trump signed an executive order on Monday blocking citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, the most significant hardening of immigration policy in generations, even with changes intended to blunt legal and political opposition.
The order was revised to avoid the tumult and protests that engulfed the nation’s airports after Mr. Trump signed his first immigration directive on Jan. 27. That order was ultimately blocked by a federal appeals court.
The new order continued to impose a 90-day ban on travelers, but it removed Iraq, a redaction requested by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who feared it would hamper coordination to defeat the Islamic State, according to administration officials.
Travel industry companies and groups need to admit that Trump’s travel ban, even in its toned down form, presents a serious threat to their continued growth and the overall health of the U.S. economy.
The ban is likely to face serious legal challenges, much like its predecessor. At least one lawsuit, contending that the ban directly targets Muslims, has already been filed in opposition.
The travel industry has been more hesitant to respond forcefully to this executive order than it was in the aftermath of the previous order.
During an appearance this morning at ITB Berlin, Expedia, Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reiterated his dismay with the Trump administration’s policies. “I think the fact that the ban is not based on facts is the issue that worries me the most,” said Khosrowshahi. “That is this some kind of symbolism that the president wants to project?
“I think we keep trying to remind him that the travel business, travel in general, is a force for good but travel is also an enormous economic benefit to the U.S. It’s our number one service export it accounts for one in eight, one in nine jobs in the United States.
President Donald Trump‘s immigration stance has begun to discourage foreign visits to major U.S. cities, threatening to cost billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
New York, the nation’s most visited city by people overseas, predicts such trips will drop more than 2 percent this year to 12.4 million, the first decline after eight consecutive annual increases. Los Angeles and Miami may also experience decreases.
Trump’s Jan. 27 ban on travelers from seven mostly Muslim nations, though halted in court, is taking its toll. The order, which caused chaos at airports, has sparked protests globally. Trump on Monday issued revised travel restrictions that exempts Iraq from the ban and gives more specifics about who is covered. The new order will likely trigger a fresh round of legal objections.
“It’s the president’s ‘America First’ rhetoric, the trade protectionism, the Mexican wall,” said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which analyzes data to predict and measure travel activity for clients in government and private industry.
International visitors spent about $250 billion in the U.S. last year, Sacks said. The U.S. will have about 4.3 million fewer foreign visitors this year thanks to Trump, which translates into $7.4 billion of lost revenue, according to his firm.
Key stakeholders in the U.S. travel industry said that a reinstatement of visa requirements on Americans traveling to Europe, which the EU threatened Thursday, would have dire consequences just as the European travel market is starting to rebound from post-terrorism drops in visitors.
Research by JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group has highlighted buoyant construction levels across the sector and predicts that the trend is set to continue.
In the UK, hotel construction activity reached £2.5 billion in Q4 2016 (up 2.4% q-o-q), marking the second consecutive increase over the quarter. JLL believes that further depreciation of the pound against the dollar and euro is likely to be good news for the hotel industry, making the UK a more affordable place to visit.
According to data from STR, almost 40,000 new hotel rooms opened in Europe last year, with c. 69,000 currently under construction.