Skift Take

Travel industry companies and groups need to admit that Trump's travel ban, even in its toned down form, presents a serious threat to their continued growth and the overall health of the U.S. economy.

President Donald Trump signed a new version of his travel ban executive order on Monday, removing several of the onerous limitations that were affecting U.S. permanent residents and travelers who already have visas to enter the country.

The core of the travel ban, which limits the entry of travelers from six majority-Muslim countries, remains in place. A seventh country, Iraq, which was part of the previous order, isn’t banned in the new one.

The ban is likely to face serious legal challenges, much like its predecessor. At least one lawsuit, contending that the ban directly targets Muslims, has already been filed in opposition.

The travel industry has been more hesitant to respond forcefully to this executive order than it was in the aftermath of the previous order.

“The American travel community supports efforts to bolster national security, and the Trump administration deserves some credit for the substantially more cautious and deliberate introduction of the revised executive order,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “Cabinet officials were on the right track with public statements welcoming lawful visa holders into the U.S. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the administration fully seized the opportunity to differentiate between the potential security risks targeted by the order and the legitimate business and leisure visitors from overseas who support 15.1 million American jobs.

“Clearly this revised order is very encouraging news if you’re looking to come to the U.S. from Iraq. The question remains whether the revised order did enough to mollify the prospective traveler from Canada, Europe, or elsewhere around the world who may have been put off by the initial travel ban. If undecided voters need to hear certain things to be motivated to get out and vote, then the same is true for undecided travelers.”

Business Travel

The Global Business Travel Administration (GBTA) also released a lukewarm statement.

“This travel ban is an improvement over the January 27th version, as it is narrower in scope and provides greater clarity about those travelers who would not be subject to the ban,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and chief operating officer. “The specific exemption for legal permanent residents, dual nationals and current visa holders will help mitigate confusion for the international traveling public.

“Any increased restrictions on passenger travel must be based in safety and security to ensure that the ability to travel is not impeded unnecessarily. It will remain a focus of the business travel industry to hold disruptions to a minimum, and we will continue to monitor the implementation of this ban closely.”

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) sounded a note of skepticism on the refinements present the new travel ban.

“ACTE was seriously concerned that the dignity of business travelers was being compromised by the first travel ban, which also undercut the value of a U.S. visa as a travel document,” said Greeley Koch, executive director of ACTE. “The new travel ban, issued today, has a ten-day implementation period and is not supposed to affect anyone holding a visa valid on January 27, 2017, nor legal resident green-card holders. We’ll see how this one is implemented.”


The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) was similarly supportive of the new order.

“We appreciate the Administration’s effort and thoughtfulness in releasing the new travel Executive Order, which is important in preventing disruption to inbound travel,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA. “As the Administration conducts its review of existing visa policies, we encourage key agencies and Congress to address national security concerns while also promoting legitimate travel to the U.S. This balanced approach remains of utmost importance to our guests, employees and the nation at large.”

Online Travel

During an appearance this morning at the International Hotel Investment Forum, Expedia, Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reiterated his dismay with the Trump administration’s policies.

“I think the fact that the ban is not based on facts is the issue that worries me the most,” said Khosrowshahi. “That is this some kind of symbolism that the president wants to project?

“I think we keep trying to remind him that the travel business, travel in general, is a force for good but travel is also an enormous economic benefit to the U.S. It’s our number one service export it accounts for one in eight, one in nine jobs in the United States.

“So to the extent that this is a President that is motivated in making America great again economically we think that travel should play a big part of it. And to the extent that he wants the United States to be a beacon and a global leader I am hoping that he is measured more in his activity.

“This travel order is certainly more measured than the last one. We don’t think that it’s a step in the right direction but it’s early at this point and I think it’s all of our jobs to collectively speak up that travel is a force for good travel brings people together travel makes the world a more global place and is certainly not the kind of dangerous element that it seems to be suggested by the President and his framework.”

TripAdvisor used the new ban to reiterate its support for refugees around the world.

“TripAdvisor will continue to provide meaningful support to refugees fleeing their homes and seeking a better life,” said TripAdvisor senior director of corporate communications Brian Hoyt. “We believe the government should be doing more, not less, to help the millions in need in this time of humanitarian suffering. TripAdvisor will continue to work with third party groups, including the IRC (International Rescue Committee) and Mercy Corps, focused on resettling the millions of refugees from Syria and around the world. Further, as the world’s largest travel company, we strongly support individuals’ rights and abilities to travel internationally for business or leisure.”

Sharing Economy

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky chimed in on Twitter with opposition to the executive order.

Uber also made an announcement that it still opposes the ban.

“Our sentiment has not changed: President Trump’s immigration ban is unjust and wrong,” wrote Uber in a statement.

In a contrast to many other companies, Lyft co-founder Logan Green declared the ridesharing service’s strong opposition to the new ban wile announcing a meeting later this week with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).


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Tags: politics, travel ban, trump

Photo credit: Travel industry stakeholders responded with muted criticism of President Trump's new travel ban. Security personnel stand guard outside Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Friday, January 6, 2017. 212566 / 212566

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