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Trump’s travel ban poised to hit business travel

February 15, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Nearly one in three members of a major US business travel association expect to cut back travel plans over the next three months in the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Trump’s executive order bans citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries from travelling to the US, though the ban has been suspended by the courts and is currently in dispute. The countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) polled its American members about Trump’s move.

“With 30% of companies expected to reduce travel, the economy will certainly take a hit,” said GBTA executive director and chief executive, Michael McCormick.

“Business travel drives lasting business growth and is a leading indicator for jobs.

“While we understand the need for security, GBTA is a strong proponent of risk-based security programs like the Visa Waiver Program. By facilitating travel and trade with 38 countries, the Visa Waiver Program spurs job creation and economic growth, while remaining the gold standard of security and efficiency in balancing the need to protect the American public while facilitating global business travel.

“We hope to have the opportunity to work with the [Trump] Administration going forward to form policies that ensure safe, secure and efficient travel.”

Almost a third (31%) of travel professionals expect the ban to cause a reduction in their company’s business travel in the immediate ensuing three months. Similarly, nearly three in 10 also expect the ban to negatively impact their company’s business travel in both the short-term (29%) over the next 3 to 6 months and the long-tem (28%) over the next 6 to 12 months and beyond.

GBTA said that the polarising nature of today’s politics in the US showed itself in the conflicting views on support for the travel ban. Half of the travel professionals surveyed strongly or somewhat opposed the ban, while nearly 4 in 10 (38%) strongly or somewhat support it.

Travel professionals cited this risk of countries reciprocating with bans of their own, making travel more difficult for US travellers (63%), complications in travel to the United States (56%) and increased threats against US travellers abroad (54%) as their top concerns for lasting impacts of the travel ban.

When asked about top concerns regarding the immigration ban on travellers, the following topped the list: uncertainty regarding green card and approved visa credibility to enter the US (55%), harassment of US travellers to and from the Middle East (50%) and increased traveller harassment in general (50%). Nearly a quarter (23%), however, didn’t share any of the concerns listed.

Edited by Peter Needham

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