Friday 19 January 2018

US travel industry has lost $185m since Trump took office

Trump & Travel

US President Donald Trump salutes before boarding Air Force One on February 6, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump salutes before boarding Air Force One on February 6, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
New York City sunset. Photo: Deposit

Gavin Haines

President Trump has cost the US travel industry around $185 million (€174m) in lost revenue.

That's according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which claims visits to the US have tailed off by 2.2pc since Trump implemented his controversial executive order, which banned citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries from visiting the US.

Although that order has since been deemed illegal by a federal judge, the slump in visits has apparently also been accompanied by a fall in demand for US-bound flights.

A travel company, Hopper, which analyses billions of flight searches around the world, has said demand is 10pc lower than it was before Trump took office.

Hopper claims demand started to dip on the day of Trump's inauguration – down 5pc compared to the previous two weeks – and crashed by as much as 17 per cent in the days following his controversial executive order.

Although there has been a recovery since the ban was lifted, Hopper claims searches for flights to the US at the time of writing remain 10pc lower than they were in the final fortnight of the Obama administration.

During the same period last year, demand dipped by just 1.8pc, suggesting the change is not simply a seasonal effect.

“Trump’s executive order has led to a significant drop in interest in traveling to the US,” concluded Patrick Surry, Hopper’s chief data scientist.

“While some would argue that a reduction in foreign visitors is a positive outcome, it’s clear that the vast majority of these potential travellers are simply business people, tourists, family members, students and the like.”

Echoing the concerns of the GBTA, Surry fears that the reinstatement of the travel ban could lead to a prolonged “Trump slump” for the US travel industry.

“If travel restrictions are reinstated it may send the message that visitors are no longer welcome in America and we could be seeing the start of a significant downturn for the travel and tourism industry,” he said.

Data compiled by another travel company, Kayak, which analysed flight searches from the EU to the US, paints a similar picture. It reports a 14pc year-on-year decrease in the number of EU citizens searching for flights to the US in January, when Trump signed his executive order.

“With 1.5 billion searches conducted on Kayak websites every year, these percentage changes are really significant,” said Kayak’s Suzanne Perry.

“The data strongly indicates that there has been a substantial decline in searches and interest for travel to the US since the start of Donald Trump’s campaign.”

While most of the world seems less interested in travelling to Trump’s America, according to Hopper there is one notable exception. In Russia, searches for US-bound flights have increased by a whopping 88pc.

Read more:

Telegraph.co.uk

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