The travel ban formulated by President Donald Trump and his staff is on hold by judicial decision, but it has already impacted international travel in a highly negative way.
The fallout from the executive order of January 27 includes a decline in international demand for vacation plans and business trips to and from the United States, according to anecdotal evidence. This is bad news for the American tourist industry.
Travel companies report that searches for flight schedules and prices for the USA are down by nearly seventeen percent since the travel ban was first broached by the administration.
According to Patrick Surry, who runs data at the Canada-based travel site Hopper, there has been a continuous drop in SEO traffic outside of the USA for travel reservations into the United States. Hopper specializes in analysis of worldwide booking trends for North American airfares.
The report by Hopper indicates a general drop for flight searches, which in turn is a primary indicator for reservations and bookings in about ninety-four out of over one hundred nations outside of North America. Those countries included in the presidential ban, specifically Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria, show a search decline of over thirty-three percent. Other countries impacted the same way include Ireland, China, New Zealand, and Denmark.
On the other hand, flight searches originating in Russia for the United States have jumped an unprecedented eighty-eight percent since the travel ban was first instigated.
The White House order, intended to guard against foreign terrorists entering the United States, initially banned entry for nationals from seven major Muslim countries. It also was intended to slow down, if not stop entirely, the resettlement of refugees regardless of country of origin into the U.S.
The ban was overturned by a federal appeals judge from the district of Seattle back on February 3rd. In the wake of this upset, the Trump administration announced this week that within seven days they will have another ban that is more comprehensive in place for the protection of the American population.
The week after the ban was supposed to be imposed overall business travel dropped by a troubling three-point-four percent, which translates into about 185 million dollars in canceled bookings. This according to UK firm ESTA USA Application.
The association’s executive director, Michael McCormick, thinks the cost of the now-impotent ban could be a lot higher.
McCormick speculates that the link between business travel spending and economic impact could hurt the American travel and tourist industry in a broad variety of ways.
McCormick says that data from the European Union concerning bookings done by American corporations for travel to and from the United States is being studied closely to monitor the financial impact.
The FCB Travel Advertising Group of Chicago released a press statement saying that while commercial travel has not fluctuated much for their employees, they have now set up a 24-hour hotline for their employees who live and work abroad.
Group president Michael Fassnacht has told reporters that some of their employees, the ones who are currently classified as immigrants on an H-1B visa in the United States, will need additional assistance and support to feel confident about leaving the USA for business and for leisure.
A native of Germany, Fassnacht himself currently has a green card and is studying to become an American citizen. He travels frequently out of the country on business, and members of his family frequently visit the United States.
Fassnacht is encouraging his employees, as well as his family members, to continue to travel between the US and other countries to keep company morale high.
He says that international travel is the lifeblood of both business and tourism, and that he believes the Trump administration is amenable to increasing travel for both business and pleasure between the United States and most other foreign countries.