Travel ban hits business travel hard

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February 09, 2017
Trump flights Europe
US President Donald Trump.

Trump’s executive order prohibits travel from seven predominately Muslim countries to the U.S. Citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are covered.

Today the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled against the Trump Administration’s efforts to impose the ban.

The appellate courts’ move may pave the way for the ultimate issue to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Bottom line: for now, at least, the ban is stayed. It’s been at least temporarily lifted.

Nonetheless, travel executives remain cautious. Shortly after it was imposed late last week GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick said, “With 30 percent of companies expected to reduce travel, the economy will certainly take a hit.” 

The GBTA chief says there could be short, mid- and long term consequences. In a prepared release, GBTA concludes, “Thirty-one percent of travel professionals expect the ban to cause a reduction in their company’s business travel in the immediate ensuing three months.

Similarly, nearly three in ten also expect the ban to impact to impact their company’s business in travel in both the short-term (29 percent), over the next three to six months and the long-term (28 percent) over the next six to twelve months and beyond.”

By the numbers, here are the specifics behind travel professionals’ worries: 
–    Sixty-three percent say they’re concerned as to just how other countries will respond to the ban, perhaps making it more difficult for U.S. citizens to travel abroad;
–    Fifty-six percent say they’re concerned about complications in travel to the U.S.;
–    Fifty-four percent take the long view and express worries about the lasting impact of the travel ban.

That’s how a select slice of pros believe travel will be hit. But what do they think about the ban itself? The answers reflect the growing political gaps between ideologies in today’s USA. 

GBTA says its survey found “Half of the travel professionals surveyed strongly or somewhat strongly oppose [Trump’s] action, while nearly four in ten (38 percent) strongly or somewhat support it.”

Ironically, based on United States Department of Commerce data, the U.S. Travel Association says international travel to the U.S. has just now returned to pre-9/11 levels. 

The U.S. lost a significant amount of ground in the international marketplace in the years after 9/11.” USTA President and CEO Roger Drew labels that period “the Lost Decade.”

A final note: USTA says the U.S. is the single largest destination for global long-haul travel and the second-largest destination for overall global travel.

How long it remains so might well lie in the hands of the courts.