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GBTA members say Trump travel ban is bad for business

Bobblehead figure of president Donald Trump

With the US Supreme Court recently upholding president Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from several mostly-Muslim countries, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) polled its members to find out their take on the situation – and it’s not good.

Of the US travel buyers surveyed, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) said the Trump administrations travel policies have driven some level of reduction in their company’s travel. Additionally, 37 per cent expect a reduction moving forward due to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Furthermore, 52 per cent said they are concerned about increased traveller harassment in general due to the government’s policies and messages surrounding immigration, while 40 per cent worry the US could see fewer business visitors as a result of the travel ban, which affects those from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela.

When asked about the lasting impact, buyers cited the potential for countries to respond, making travel more difficult for US travellers (64 per cent), complications in travel to the US (56 per cent), increased threats against US travellers abroad (51 per cent) and cancelled projects/contracts between US and foreign companies (36 per cent).

In general, 62 per cent of respondents believe the Trump administration is having a negative effect on business travel.

The GBTA says that for every one per cent decrease in business travel spending, the US economy loses 74,000 jobs, US$5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes.

In Europe, 31 per cent of GBTA members polled said the US administrations executive orders on travel have driven some reduction in their company’s travel.

Even more damaging is the 38 per cent of European buyers who said their willingness to plan meetings and events in the US has decreased because of the administration’s policies and the 39 per cent who said the ban and messages on immigration negatively impact their company’s willingness to plan meetings in the country.

In a press statement, the GBTA said it is “deeply concerned about the long-term impact of these survey results, and the global perception of doing business” in the US.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and as the United States changes its policies about inbound travel, others are likely to do the same.

“Business planning in an environment with turmoil and unpredictable change is difficult. Business leaders would much rather have certainty and predictability so that they can allocate capital and plan business appropriately for the long term. When policies are introduced without consulting stakeholders and presented without warning, it causes damage to the United States as a destination for foreign travel. However, it is not irreparable. The US economy remains strong and is an attractive place for business.”

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