While the current travel ban targeted specific countries in the Middle East, its overall impact could influence others to turn away from traveling to the U.S. for business and leisure.
Every new administration has advantages and disadvantages for businesses in the United States. When looking at regulations, many executives, including those in the hotel industry, are expecting a more business-friendly climate. That’s an advantage for them.
A disadvantage for hoteliers is the recent executive order that stopped citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the U.S. It created chaos at airports where passengers who recently landed were held without being able to speak with waiting family members, legal representation or clear explanations of what was going on.
A federal court stopped the order, for now at least, but at best, those legally allowed to enter the U.S. were held up for hours and, at worst, some were illegally deported.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of support or opposition to this order, you at least should agree the execution of the order left a great deal to be desired. It came about with little warning, it was revised to clarify that those with green cards could still enter the country and there are allegations of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents ignoring court orders to allow people to leave.
Nothing about it appeared organized or well-thought out. From an international perspective, the U.S. is probably looking like a less desirable place to travel to for business or leisure. It’s too soon to say how the Trump administration’s positions and actions will affect travel to the U.S. in the long run, but hoteliers should keep an eye on international politics to prepare for any fluctuations in inbound foreign travel.
The New York Times reported earlier this week that there’s concern corporate travel to the U.S. could drop following the travel ban. The article cited a survey by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives conducted days after the ban went into effect that found almost four out of 10 executives “said the travel ban would curtail their company’s business travel.”
The article also quoted Michael McCormick, executive director and COO at the Global Business Travel Association, as saying, “You’re dealing with a perception and whether people are going to postpone that trip or find another way in the near term to accomplish their business.”
U.S. hoteliers are already concerned about corporate-rate growth this year. The potential loss of corporate travel coming in from abroad is only going to compound that problem.
Whatever happens with the travel ban, the U.S. now appears to be a less welcoming place for foreign visitors. If people who had the legal right to reside in the country, even temporarily, can be treated this way, I’m sure those who would otherwise come here for a business trip or vacation might decide to avoid a potential hassle here and take themselves, and their money, elsewhere.
Hoteliers, it’s up to you to change this. However you do it, whether that’s making calls to politicians, promoting the idea that this country still welcomes people from all over the world or whatever effort you feel is productive, is up to you.
Are you worried the travel ban will affect how potential visitors view our country? Do you believe this will all blow over and work itself out? Let me know. You can comment below or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @HNN_Bryan.
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