Skift Take

The initial travel ban caused widespread chaos and confusion, and uncertainty has remained amid court challenges. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the ban, will business travel suffer as this survey suggests?

Travel bans just aren’t great for business travel.

A new survey released Tuesday by the Global Business Travel Association shows that 62 percent of U.S. travel buyers said they believe the administration is negatively affecting business travel.

The poll was taken last week, before Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the executive order banning travel from seven countries, the majority of which are Muslim-majority.

Of the U.S. travel buyers who responded to the survey, 37 percent said that they believed a ruling to uphold the ban would result in a reduction of business travel at their companies in the future. Thus far, 23 percent said they thought that the Trump administration’s executive orders on travel had forced some reduction in travel at their companies, while 76 percent saw no impact.

Among European buyers, 31 percent said that the government’s executive orders have caused their companies to reduce travel. Nearly 40 percent said their willingness to plan meetings and events in the United States had decreased because of Trump’s policies and messages on travel and immigration.

“GBTA is deeply concerned about the long-term impact of these survey results, and the global perception of doing business with the United States,” Mike McCormick, executive director and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “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.”

U.S. respondents to the survey indicated they had several concerns due to U.S. policy and the Trump administration’s rhetoric. More than half said they were worried about increased traveler harassment in general, while 46 percent were concerned about uncertainty surrounding green cards and visas to enter the United States. Four in 10 said they were concerned about reduced business travel to the U.S.

The travel buyers, all members of GBTA, also anticipated a negative lasting impact. Sixty-four percent said they were concerned about the potential for other countries to respond and make travel by U.S. citizens more difficult, while 56 percent foresaw complications in travel to the United States and 51 percent were concerned about the possibility of increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad.

Respondents were also concerned for purely economic reasons: 36 percent said they could see projects or contracts between U.S. and foreign companies canceled.

Another business travel organization, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, also released a statement warning about the potential ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“This is a disappointing decision on the part of the Supreme Court, and a setback for the principles underlying the global economy,” Greeley Koch, executive director of the association, said in the statement. “ACTE is concerned by the implications for a healthy business environment that relies on the critical economic inputs and outputs from both workers and tourists coming into the U.S. from all corners of the globe. This move fails to reduce the uncertainty that has, over the past year and a half, hindered business travelers’ productivity and efficiency.”


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Tags: business travel, Donald Trump, gbta, travel ban

Photo credit: Sixty-two percent of travel buyers said in a recent survey they believed the administration's policies had led to a reduction in business travel. A February 2017 protest against the initial ban in Washington, D.C. is shown. Ted Eytan / Flickr

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