In a poll of its members this week, the Global Business Travel Association found that nearly one-third (31 percent) of travel professionals expect President Trump's travel ban to cause a reduction in business travel over the next three months. Nearly as many respondents (29 percent) expect the ban to negatively affect their company's business travel over the next three to six months, and 28 percent believe those negative effects could be felt over the next six to 12 months and beyond.
President Trump's executive order bans citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days, and bans Syrian citizens from entering the country until further notice. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (those with green cards) will not be prevented from entering, but could face additional screening and potentially be denied entry.
"Business travel drives lasting business growth and is a leading indicator for jobs," said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. "With 30 percent of companies expected to reduce travel, the economy will certainly take a hit. While we understand the need for security, GBTA is a strong proponent of risk-based security programs like the Visa Waiver Program. By facilitating travel and trade with 38 countries, the Visa Waiver Program spurs job creation and economic growth, while remaining the gold standard of security and efficiency in balancing the need to protect the American public while facilitating global business travel. We hope to have the opportunity to work with the administration going forward to form policies that ensure safe, secure and efficient travel."
The GBTA membership, however, was divided with respect to its support for the ban: Half of the respondents either strongly or somewhat oppose the executive order, while 38 percent either strongly or somewhat support it.
In terms of potential lasting impacts, travel professionals' top concerns included increased difficulty for U.S. travelers based on international response (63 percent), complications in travel to the U.S. (56 percent) and increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad (54 percent).
Top concerns regarding the immigration ban included uncertainty regarding green card and approved visa credibility to enter the U.S. (55 percent), harassment of U.S. travelers to and from the Middle East (50 percent) and increased traveler harassment in general (50 percent). Almost one-quarter of respondents (23 percent), however, didn't have any of the listed concerns.
Note that only 58 travel professionals participated in the survey - just 17 percent of the 338 GBTA members contacted for the poll.
For more information about the Executive Order and the industry's response to it, please visit the Meetings Mean Business Coalition's dedicated, updated webpage