Companies Expect Continued International Travel Disruption, GBTA Members Say

Nearly four out of 10 (37 percent) business travel professionals in the U.S. expect a reduction in their corporate travel as a result of President Trump's revised executive order, the Global Business Travel Association has reported. The number was significantly higher among European travel professionals surveyed, with nearly half (47 percent) foreseeing travel reductions; 17 percent of the European professionals noted that their companies already have canceled U.S.-bound travel as a result of the executive order.

Further, the GBTA survey confirmed what M&C has heard anecdotally from several global companies, that Europe-based employees are reluctant to schedule meetings in the U.S. Thirty-eight percent of European business travel managers polled by GBTA said their companies would be less willing to send travelers to the U.S. in the future as a result of the executive order, while 45 percent said their companies will be less willing to plan meetings and events stateside.

The organization polled members March 7-8, immediately following the issuance of the revised executive order. Results are based on responses from 176 business travel professionals in the U.S. and 148 in Europe.

"There is always the risk that closing our borders sends the message that the United States is closed for business, and the results of this poll show the perception of the United States as a welcoming destination for business travel has been altered," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick. "As we always say, security is paramount, but GBTA continues to be a proponent for expanding proven security programs and developing new technology to facilitate information-sharing among governments to ensure travelers are always vetted properly, making us all more safe and secure."

The survey revealed that European GBTA members already are dealing with the implications of the order. Forty-four percent said their organizations currently have employees traveling abroad who might be or are affected by the travel ban, and one-fifth said they were working on canceling or delaying travel for employees who are nationals of the countries named by the ban. 

U.S. travel managers, meanwhile, remain concerned about the implications of the ban on their travelers - although those numbers are down from the GBTA survey conducted in the wake of the first travel ban, in January. More than half (51 percent) are concerned the ban will make travel more difficult for U.S. travelers (down from 63 percent); 44 percent fear increased complications in travel to the U.S. (down from 56 percent); and 41 percent are concerned about the potential for increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad (down from 54 percent).

That isn't to say that U.S. travel professionals were overwhelmingly opposed to the ban: A little more than half (52 percent) either strongly or somewhat oppose the executive order, while 35 percent either strongly or somewhat support it.