If the United States sees a decline in the number of business travelers from Europe this year, President Donald Trump’s travel ban will likely bear some of the blame.
Just about half of European travel buyers who participated in a Global Business Travel Association survey said they expect business travel to the U.S. to be cut at their companies as a result of the ban, which applies to visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump signed the order, which blocks refugees and most visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, late January 27. Protestors took to streets and airports that weekend, and lawyers filed suits around the country.
The status of the ban was in flux over the weekend. A federal judge temporarily blocked the order Friday night and an appeals court upheld the restraining order Sunday, just the latest moves in a chaotic week and a half.
The GBTA conducted its email poll of European members before those rulings, between Thursday and Friday. The organization released the results, which included responses from 68 participants, Friday afternoon. That followed a similar survey of travel buyers in the United States by the organization earlier in the week.
European buyers expect the impact of the ban to be much stronger than their American counterparts do. Over the next three months, 49 percent of those who responded expect a reduction in business travel; that’s compared to 31 percent of buyers in the U.S. for the same time frame.
Nearly half in Europe — 46 percent — expect an impact between three and six months from now, and 33 percent anticipate a travel reduction between six and 12 months. That compares to 29 percent in the U.S. who expect a negative change in three to six months, and 28 percent who think there will be a long-term impact.
“As business travel acts as an economic driver, this level of disruption will certainly hurt the economy,” a GBTA blog post said.
Slightly more than half of those who responded said their company had employees traveling who might be — or were — affected by the order. And of those businesses that employ nationals of the seven countries included in the order, 38 percent of respondents said there are already instructions to cancel or delay travel for those workers.
Some of the survey participants said it was still too early to tell what kind of impact the ban might have on their company, or explained that most travel took place outside of the U.S. anyway.
But others said they were already noticing changes in sentiment where the United States was concerned.
“Seeing a major shift in travellers’ desire to visit the U.S.,” one respondent wrote. “Trips and events will likely be canceled or postponed.”