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Trump ban has already cost business travel industry $185 million

Brittany Jones-Cooper
·Reporter
Protesters rally against the Muslim immigration ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
Protesters rally against the Muslim immigration ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

On Thursday, an appeals court decided not to reinstate the temporary travel ban issued by President Trump on Jan. 27. The new ruling came from a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which upheld the ban suspension from a lower court. For international travelers, this means that travel into and out of the US will remain as it was before the executive order temporarily banning citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.

But it’s not business as usual in the travel industry. The airport protests, rallies and emotional footage of detained travelers has created a level of uncertainty for international and domestic travelers. In fact, The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) estimates that $185 million in business travel bookings were lost in the week following the executive order due to a lack of traveler confidence. After the travel ban, system-wide business travel transactions in the US fell 2.2%.

“There was too much uncertainty and a lack of clarity around the executive order, leading to general confusion,” the GBTA said on its blog. “The net effect was that business travel bookings were delayed or canceled.”

And the fallout keeps coming. After surveying their members, which consist of travel professionals, the GBTA found that nearly 50% of Europeans expect their company to reduce business travel in the next three months. In the US, 31% of respondents expected the same.

The decrease in travel to the US can be seen beyond the business category.

Hundreds of people protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX on January 29, 2017. (Getty)
Hundreds of people protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX on January 29, 2017. (Getty)

Trump’s travel ban only applies to refugees and citizens from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen. However, a report from ForwardKeys, a travel analysis site, found that international bookings to the US were down 6.5% compared to this time last year. The study looked at travel data from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4. When broken down into regions, bookings from the Middle East were down 37.5%, and bookings from Western Europe saw a drop of 13.6%.

“The data forces a compelling conclusion that Donald Trump’s travel ban immediately caused a significant drop in bookings to the USA and an immediate impact on future travel,” said Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys, in a press release.

It’s too soon to measure the long-term impact that a travel ban could have, but when you look at the stakes, it’s not hard to imagine the potential financial loss. In 2015, the International Trade Administration reported that the US travel and tourism industry generated nearly $1.6 trillion in economic output, supporting 7.6 million US jobs. Even more, one out of every 18 Americans is employed, either directly or indirectly, in a travel or tourism-related industry.

The ban is suspended for now, but as the Trump administration attempts to get it reinstated, those in the travel industry continue to promote the importance weighing other options.

“Instead of closing our borders, the United States should continue to pursue and focus on expanding security programs like the Visa Waiver Program, which facilitates information-sharing among governments to ensure properly vetted travelers, making us all more safe and secure,” said the GBTA.

On Friday, NBC News reported that White House lawyers were working on a rewrite of Trump’s executive order that would address the court’s legal concerns. In other words, this battle is long from over, which probably doesn’t bode well for the travel industry.

Brittany is a writer at Yahoo Finance.

More:

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