President Trump’s travel ban—an executive order that had blocked travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States—has resulted in a huge loss for the travel industry.
As reported by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in a blog post, the business travel sector lost nearly $185 million in bookings the week after Trump’s travel ban went into effect.
Since then, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled Thursday to uphold a federal judge’s order to temporarily halt enforcement of the travel ban. Then, on Friday, the White House issued conflicting statements on its plans for appeal. It first indicated that the administration had declined to pursue its case further. Minutes later, the White House reversed course, saying it is considering going to the Supreme Court and rewriting the travel ban.
Even so, the losses during this short period of time have been massive. As reported by GBTA, business travel transactions had been growing 1.2 percent the week leading up to the travel ban but fell 2.2 percent the week after the ban.
In a report surveying the possible consequences of the executive order, GBTA found that about 30 percent of travel professionals expected the ban to have an immediate negative impact on their business over the next three months and well into the next year.
Internationally, business travel insiders are also concerned about other countries’ response to the travel ban. Specifically:
Difficulty: 63 percent of those surveyed worried that travel would become more difficult for U.S. travelers.
Complications: 56 percent cited possible complications in travelling to the United States.
Threats: 54 percent feared increasing threats against U.S. travelers abroad.
“Business travel drives lasting business growth and is a leading indicator for jobs and the economy at large,” GBTA’s Executive Director Mike McCormick said. “Upholding the travel ban will clearly cause a rippling effect through the travel industry, ultimately hurting the economy. It also unleashes travel disruption like we saw when the order was first implemented.”
With continuing uncertainty over the future of Trump’s travel ban, the travel industry could be bracing for more impacts.