President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban hit a roadblock yesterday, and if the travel industry seems slow to react, well, that might be because it’s already reacted.
A federal judge on Wednesday put a temporary halt on the president’s second executive order seeking to put a 90-day block on travelers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States.
During a speech in Nashville, Trump called his latest executive order “a watered-down version of the first one.” He vowed to take the case “all the way to the Supreme Court.”
What can a travel association executive say to that?
Trump ban boilerplate
Since the president’s first executive order in January and his second one in March, travel industry groups have reacted in more or less the same way. They issue a two-part statement. Part one acknowledges the need for the United States to be a secure nation. Part two expresses the desire for the nation to be perceived as a welcoming place—like the good old days.
So thumbs-up for security, thumbs down for outward hostility.
Here’s an example:
“Meetings Mean Business joins the American travel community in supporting efforts to bolster national security,” the advocacy group said in a statement released after Trump issued the second executive order. “We recognize the substantially more cautious and deliberate introduction of the revised executive order on travel and immigration, however, several of the industry’s initial concerns remain unaddressed.
“A Meetings Mean Business survey, conducted after the initial executive order, found that the majority of meetings industry professionals were concerned about reputational harm to the U.S. Our industry is centered on bringing people together, fostering relationships, driving positive outcomes, and supporting communities where meetings and events are held.
“We reiterate our belief that striking the right balance between enhanced security and travel facilitation is of the utmost importance. We also continue to urge that the security reviews prescribed by the executive orders be concluded as quickly as possible.”
Why not say it again?
The travel and meetings industry has genuine concerns, not the least of which is that the two executive orders have put a chill on travel plans to the United States.
A day after the judge halted Trump’s executive order and the president fired off his rebuttal, a quick scan of travel association websites found them notably silent.
It could be time to stop talking and start lobbying.