A flippant ad by Royal Jordanian Airlines captioned “Travel to the US while you’re still allowed to” is among various pronouncements that companies may be having second thoughts about, following the historic upset victory by hotelier Donald Trump in yesterday’s US general election.
Trump, the billionaire reality TV star and outsider who has never held public office, yesterday became the only travel industry personality ever to win election to be president of the United States.
Royal Jordanian sent out its ad via Twitter shortly before the election. The full tagline ran: “Just in case he wins … Travel to the US while you’re still allowed to!”
The reference was to Trump’s campaign pledge to ban Muslims from entering the US. When the ad was written, a jokey approach seemed a good bet because a Trump victory was considered highly unlikely. Virtually all the polls and media outlets expected Hillary Clinton to win.
The day before the election, News.Ltd ran a story headlined: Why a ‘Donald Trump win is impossible’. It went on to point out that polls and experts believed Hillary Clinton “will almost certainly win tomorrow’s US election”, and it continued: “if you follow the simple rules of mathematics” Donald Trump faces “an almost impossible task to clinch the presidency”.
Now that President-elect Trump is headed for the White House to become the 45th president of USA, a lot of people are doing some fast rethinking. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, for instance, may be reconsidering his comments early last month about Trump being “entirely unsuitable” to lead the free world.
A couple of weeks ahead of the election, some people started moderating strident criticism of Trump, as suspicions grew that the unthinkable might occur and he just might win. See: Is Donald Trump a winner in election and new chain?
Trump’s experience as a hotelier and businessman failed to convince the global travel industry that he would be better for business than rival Hillary Clinton.
Less than 24 hours before the election, WTM London’s annual survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of travel industry professionals – 60% – thought Clinton would be better for global business. Only 7% nominated Trump. Shares dived worldwide yesterday as markets realised that Trump was likely heading for victory. About AUD 34 billion was wiped off the Australian share market. Stocks later rallied strongly in the US and elsewhere and may do the same today in Australia.
Trump’s low approval rating came despite his owning several leisure and hospitality businesses around the world, including 15 Trump Hotels, spas, luxury lodges and golf courses. See: Industry Has Reservations About Hotelier Trump Becoming US President
As an international hotelier, Trump knows the importance of travel and the travel industry. Some of his proposed security policies, such as building a wall between the US and Mexico and banning or restricting Muslims from entering the US, may seem unwelcoming to many.
Trump International Hotel, Washington DC
There are often differences between what people say in an election campaign and what they do in office, however. Trump’s victory speech yesterday was gracious and conciliatory, stressing the need for unity. America will hopefully overcome its differences, given time, and will continue to be as welcoming to visitors as ever.
Written by Peter Needham