Trump’s immigration ban cost business-travel industry $185M: report

Trump’s immigration ban cost business-travel industry $185M: report
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President Trump’s immigration ban — which was put on hold after one week — may have cost $185 million in business-travel bookings, according to a new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Using industry data, the GBTA compared business-travel transaction levels in the week before and the week after Trump signed the executive order on immigration and refugees. 

The research found that travel bookings increased 1.2 percent the week before the travel ban, but decreased by 2.2 percent the week after, for a net decrease of 1 percent. That amounts to an estimated $185 million loss for the business-travel industry, the report says.

The countries targeted in the temporary travel ban — Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — make up a small fraction of incoming travel to the U.S. and don’t crack the top 20 travel markets to the country, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

But the GBTA said the uncertainty surrounding U.S. travel is having a “rippling effect on traveler confidence.” 

“Business travel drives lasting business growth and is a leading indicator for jobs and the economy at large,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA’s executive director. “Upholding the travel ban will clearly cause a rippling effect through the travel industry, ultimately hurting the economy. It also unleashes travel disruption like we saw when the order was first implemented.”

In a poll last week, the group found that nearly half of European professionals expected their company to reduce business travel over the next three months, while 31 percent of American respondents agreed. Of all U.S. business travel in 2016, 87.3 percent was domestic and 12.7 percent was international.

The executive order bans people from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The policy also halts the United States' refugee resettlement program for 120 days, while indefinitely suspending resettlement for refugees from Syria.

Trump says the policy is needed to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the country, but it has sparked sparked dozens of lawsuits around the country.

A federal judge put the ban on ice last week while he considers a legal challenge brought by Washington and Minnesota. A decision from an appeals court on whether to reinstate the ban is expected any day.

“They can ultimately choose to reinstate the travel ban or uphold the lower court’s ruling on the temporary stay, which would likely result in an appeal to the Supreme Court,” McCormick said. “However, both scenarios result in a loss for the travel industry and the economy.”