UPDATE MARCH 6: President Trump’s new revised travel ban issued Monday removes Iraq from the list of mostly Muslim nations that faced restrictions and limits the United States’ refugee program. The changes will take effect March 16.
PUBLISHED MARCH 3: While President Trump’s Russia crisis moves to eclipse the good will generated from his speech to Congress on Tuesday night, his highly anticipated revised travel ban has yet to materialize.
The highly controversial executive order that had blocked travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States was supposed to get a more court-friendly revision Wednesday, but the administration has delayed its release with no indication of when that might be.
As has been widely reported, a White official said: “We want the (executive order) to have its own ‘moment.’ ”
In the meantime, the U.S. Travel Association isn’t waiting around to see what that revised travel ban entails. In a statement released Thursday, the association urged the president to make clear that the United States is a welcoming country that values international travelers on business or vacation.
“Security is a top priority for the U.S. travel community, but it’s critical to balance both sides of the ledger: make clear who is not welcome, but also who remains welcome,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Not doing so would be to double-down on doubts, discontent and division that risk significant economic harm.”
Policy changes that could negatively impact the $2.1 trillion travel industry are drawing sharp criticism from tourism bureaus around the country. Many industry professionals worry that international travelers are changing their U.S. travel plans because of the president’s travel ban and hard-line stance on immigration.
A Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) study said the U.S. travel industry lost $185 million in business in the first week after the original executive order. And those business losses will eventually affect jobs. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel supports 15.1 million domestic jobs.
“International travel is integral to the president’s stated economic priorities of correcting the U.S. trade imbalance and protecting jobs here at home,” Dow said. “As a businessman and hospitality entrepreneur, it is safe to say he never intended to discourage legitimate travelers from coming to the U.S. As president, he seems to be catching his stride in terms of communicating the true vision and intent of his policies, and he has a golden opportunity to address some unintended consequences of his initial travel order when he reissues it in the coming days. Neither he, nor the U.S. economy, can afford to squander it.”