by Michael J. Shapiro | September 26, 2017
While the White House and the Department of Homeland Security are moving in the right direction, they should still do more to counteract the international perception problems they have created, according to the Global Business Travel Association.
 
The new inbound international travel restrictions announced this weekend include far more detail than was the case with January's initial travel ban. "The White House has now established clearer criteria and a process for evaluating the admission of foreign visitors into the United States, as well as a willingness to engage with other countries to assist them in meeting the mutual beneficial goal of safe travel," said Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of the GBTA. "Through this [latest] process, the federal government was able to raise the level of security for travel into the United States through constructive bilateral engagement."
 
Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia remain on the restricted list, but Sudan has been removed thanks to bilateral security efforts. Chad, North Korea and Venezuela have been added to the list.
 
A more specific timeline was issued as well: The restrictions on some individuals, notably those who do not have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, already are in effect as of Sunday. For the rest of would-be immigrants from the affected countries, including nationals of the newly added nations, the restrictions take effect on Oct. 18. The White House also has issued an FAQ with this latest set of restrictions. 
 
Those already holding valid visas are exempt, as are those who already have been granted asylum or refugee status. Lawful permanent residents and dual nationals also are exempt.
 
McCormick, however, feels the executive office has serious work still to do: "The damage from the previous executive orders has been done. The initial comprehensive January and March travel bans have created the perception that the United States is closed for business. While security is paramount, the White House should now work to counter that perception. The resulting losses in business travel and trade have left a lasting negative impact on our economy."
 
It will be some time before the numbers come in that shed more light on that impact, a GBTA spokesperson acknowledged, but member polls and forecasts issued by the organization this year show cause for concern. Following the travel bans proposed in January and March, 45 percent of GBTA's European members said they would be less willing to host meetings and events stateside in the future. Given the advance planning timeline, it could be a year or two before the U.S. feels the impact from that, if the actions of the association's members mirror their attitudes. 
 
Previous GBTA research has shown that for every 1 percent decrease in business travel, the United States loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes.