by Kevin Iwamoto | February 7, 2017

Kevin Iwamoto

If you are like me, you are watching and realizing the far-flung repercussions of how an executive order can immediately impact U.S. and global citizens, those traveling for both business and leisure, with the stroke of a presidential signature. I watched the news in sadness and felt badly for the travelers, but also for their families and employers, who must deal with the aftermath of this executive order.

I won't make political commentary, as this blog space has always been dedicated to industry advancement and education. Instead, I've been devouring news stories, editorials, op-eds and survey results to get a feel for what's happening out in the business travel industry with regards to the new executive order targeting seven countries in the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen).

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives did a quick survey of their members who are senior corporate travel/meeting buyers, which did reveal travel difficulties, along with fear and uncertainty. (Read M&C's related news article here.)

The Meetings Mean Business Coalition followed with similar action, conducting a sweeping survey that garnered 1,665 responses in just a few days, having been widely shared by members and the media. That research found widespread concern that the executive order could do short- and long-term harm to our country's reputation, resulting in loss of travel and meetings business. (Read M&C's related article here.)

There's still so much uncertainty as to what is going to happen and whether any modifications will be made to the existing executive order. In the meantime, our hearts go out to the unfortunate travelers who are caught in the middle of the confusion, facing the uncertainty of their statuses and their ability to travel to or from the United States based on their country of origin. Program managers, category leads and other buyers must figure out the total net impact to their companies and their travel/meeting programs.

Collectively, we as an industry have a voice in this democracy, and our industry leaders have shown resilience and resolve to let our political leaders know when something is not right or in showcasing the negative repercussions of certain actions and laws. This is something we as an industry have done and will continue to do, no matter who the president is and irrespective of which political party has a majority in Congress.