By ABA Media
On March 20, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released its annual Economic Impact Research report for 2017. The report indicated that the travel and tourism sector impacted the economy by $1.5 trillion in 2016 and provided more than 14 million jobs. The WTTC is predicting a slower pace in 2017, however—2.3 percent, compared to 2.8 percent in 2016.
While it would be hard to ignore the potential impact that President Trump’s travel ban could have on the tourism industry—and motorcoach operators—WTTC CEO and President David Scowsill points out that, while he believes the ban “is misguided,” President Trump “does come from our industry; he knows about job creation in our industry and he knows where American jobs are.”
The ban, impacting foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, was signed on March 6 and extends for a 90-day period intended to provide the administration with an opportunity to review and establish standards to address potential security threats.
Stephanie Lee is co-owner and president of ABA member Group Sales Box Office—Broadway.com/Groups in New York. Lee has no doubt that the travel ban has already had an impact on inbound U.S. tourism. “Most recently, Toronto, Canada’s largest school system, announced that it will no longer allow student or staff trips to the U.S., citing uncertainty over the travel ban,” she says. “This announcement followed a similar one from the Girl Guides of Canada, who will also no longer authorize trips to the U.S.” That loss of revenue, says Lee, is only a part of the bigger picture. And, she adds: “Beyond any financial ramifications is the abrupt disruption and loss of cross-border student travel—something that could have much more damaging long-term effects.”
In addition to the travel ban impacting specific countries, the Trump administration is also considering the expansion of a policy banning laptops for passengers originating from outside the U.S.—a measure that currently applies only to certain airports in the Middle East and Africa.
As the ban and related measures play out, ABA is committed to continually monitoring this issue, ensuring our voice and the voices of our members are heard.