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Trump’s travel-ban triumph sparks mixed response

June 28, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The Trump presidency’s major victory on travel yesterday, when the US Supreme Court upheld the president’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, has drawn a mixed, but mainly negative, response from the travel industry.

Critics had called the controversial ban unconstitutional religious discrimination, but the court ruled it was justified on national security grounds – just as President Donald Trump had said all along.

The ban doesn’t affect many Australians. Announced in September, it prohibits entry into the United States by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

That worries the US travel industry, however, as visitation to the US fell 4% in 2017 by some counts.

Marriott International president and chief executive, Arne Sorenson said yesterday the chain was “seeing concern by major travellers around the world that it’s a little harder to get into the United States – it seems to feel a little less welcoming than it did in the past”.

In a TV interview with CNBC, Sorenson added: “And by the way, we applaud a lot of the work that is underway around security.”

US-based ACTE Global (Association of Corporate Travel Executives) described the ruling as “a disappointing decision on the part of the Supreme Court, and a setback for the principles underlying the global economy.

“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 US from all corners of the globe. This move fails to reduce the uncertainty that has, over the past year and a half, hindered business travellers’ productivity and efficiency.

“ACTE believes in treating all travellers with fairness and respect for their contributions to the economy, regardless of country of origin. We hope that, despite this decision, the U.S. government will take the time to carefully evaluate immigration and security policies to ensure that the economy continues to thrive without sacrificing safety.”

The US Travel Association (USTA) saw a silver lining.

“Now that the US court system has set guidelines for the president’s executive orders on immigration, we are hopeful that a coherent and durable set of policies can be put into place by the administration,” USTA executive vice president for public affairs, Jonathan Grella, commented.

“Today’s decision should enable the White House to move on to a new messaging phase: making it clear that keeping bad actors out remains a priority, but making it equally clear that legitimate business and leisure travellers are as welcome and desired as ever in the United States,” Grella said.

“The economic stakes around strong and healthy international travel are too high – and speak too squarely to the president’s priorities of growing exports, jobs, and the GDP – for the welcome message not to become a featured part of the administration’s calculus.”

Written by Peter Needham

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