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ACTE CEO to NYC Council’s Committee on Economic Development “Traveler Uncertainty Is Costing this City Money”

May 1, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Greeley Koch, executive director and CEO of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, testified last week before the New York City Council’s Committee on Economic Development regarding the impact of recent bans on the city’s business travel and tourism revenue. While statistics indicate that worldwide bookings to the U.S. are down 1.1 percent,* and that New York City has experienced a loss of 2.1 percent** in bookings over the last year, Koch explained the worst may be yet to come.

“These numbers show a direct parallel with the White House travel bans issued last winter,” said Koch. “What they do not show is the prevailing aura of uncertainty driving those numbers and the negative effect traveler perception may exert on numbers going into the summer. We may not have seen the worst, nor the end of this, as uncertainty lingers.”

Koch cited results from an internal ACTE survey of global business travel managers on the issue last January. Of the 250 poll respondents:

  • 20 percent claimed that the travel ban posed difficulties for their respective companies—most of whom were barely reflective of the seven countries named in the ban.
  • 25 percent defined these difficulties as:
    • Fear of traveler harassment;
    • Fear of harassment of or reprisals toward U.S. travelers in the Middle East;
    • Uncertainty regarding Green Card and approved visa credibility; and
    • Limited access to the employee pool.

 That 25 percent soared to 37 percent when respondents were asked about individual fears.

  • In response to the question, “Will this travel ban reduce your company’s travel?”
    • 3 percent said “significantly.”
    • 36 percent replied “somewhat.”

Koch emphasized that these numbers are of dire concern to the business travel industry, which measures year-to-year gains in single digits.

In his closing remarks, Koch said, “Business and business travelers abhor uncertainty. When travelers are uncertain about the viability of a trip, it gets postponed. That means postponing the hotel stay, the dining, the surface transportation charges, the shopping and the ancillary revenue that floats this city. Sometimes, trips and travelers are rerouted to other places… Places with less regulation, equal security, newer meeting facilities and an equal number of options.

“New York City is more than just the landmark gateway to the U.S. It is the portal to business, art, music and culture. Why would anyone introduce an aura of uncertainty in traveling to New York?”, asked Koch.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives is convening its 2017 Global Business Travel Conference at the Marriott Marquis this weekend (April 23-25). One thousand business travel professionals from 25 countries gather to discuss issues like travel bans, safety, security, new trends, new services and advanced managerial techniques. Meeting business travelers’ expectations of a work-life balance is high on the agenda. Koch invited the entire committee to join him at the event to gauge an even more accurate temperature of industry opinion.

*Statistics supplied by Forward Keys

**Statistics supplied by NYC & Company

View Greeley Koch’s full testimony:

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