According to the Global Business Travel Association, President Trump has cost the US travel industry a whopping $185 million since he took office, about 24 days ago. Experts believe the slump will continue and potentially get even worse. However, this drop is small in comparison to the current US travel industry size of about $1 Trillion, according to industry stats website Statista.
The controversial executive order banning citizens of seven primarily Muslim countries from entering the US has cost the industry millions in terms of forgone trips. For example, flight-search analysis company Hopper reported demand declining 10% since Trump took office. Days after the order, demand declined as much as 17% before leveling off and recovering slightly, now that the ban has been stayed by Federal judges. The drop is statistically significant, far outpacing any previous seasonal demand fluctuation over the same time period.
According to Hopper’s chief data scientist, Patrick Surry, these “travel restrictions…send the message that visitors are no longer welcome in America and we could be seeing the start of a significant downturn for the travel and tourism industry.” That is a damning and scary proposition, as my travels are predicated on a healthy and thriving travel industry.
Similarly, Kayak reported a 14% YoY decrease in flight searches by EU citizens looking to travel to the US. We are already seeing the short-term effects of this executive order, costing U.S. companies millions.
$185 million in 24 days is about $7.7M per day. This comes out to about $230 million per month, and $2.8 billion, with a B, per year. However, if the rate of decline increases, due to tourist anxiety, or concerns about safety or visa, the industry will be far worse off.
Travel Industry Repercussions
As fellow travelers, how would this decline in demand affect you? From a purely hypothetical standpoint, I can draw some reasonable economic conclusions.
The demand for hotels, tourism, and flights are down. We can reasonably expect hospitality companies to lower their pricing. They will fight for market share in an ever-shrinking pie of consumer dollars. Thus, cheaper flights or hotel rooms may be on the horizon. However, I find it hard to see any decline in international flight or hotel costs. If the companies can charge more, they certainly will do so.
More realistically, I can see hotels and airlines cutting back on costs – perhaps offering less amenities, routes, or lucrative customer offers, as they tighten their belt. These austerity measures will help the hospitality companies weather this (hopefully temporary) downturn in their industry, and stay afloat. Carriers serving European and US destinations will most likely consolidate and cut costs by reducing routes, personnel, amenities, or frequency of flights.
Lastly, this type of executive order makes me apprehensive on my return trips to the United States. I hope that keeping the ban lifted will help the industry recover, let alone any impression of Americans around the world. I feel like the United States was just well on its way to repairing its foreign relationships and stature around the world. But, now we have damaged it more than we ever have before. That healing will take time, so travel carefully!
Featured image from Pixabay of a flight taking off. Less of those coming to the US now! Original article here.
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