President Trump’s travel ban on nationals from seven Middle East countries has provoked anger and chaos.
Alarmingly, the president reportedly acted without reference to the US departments of Justice, State, Homeland Security or Defence. As this magazine went to press, four days after Trump signed the order, airline association Iata had to notify members it still had no call scheduled with US officials to clarify details (pages 4-5).
The Foreign Office attempted to explain the order, only to be contradicted by US officials, with the US embassy in London initially notifying dual nationals of Britain and the affected countries they could not apply for US visas.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson then clarified the issue, insisting “we’ve received assurances”, and the FCO advice was updated again. But travel companies continued to report concern among potential travellers and confusion continued over the implementation of the rules.
There has been global outrage. UK MPs unanimously condemned the order as “discriminatory” and US corporations including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Starbucks, Ford, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have been critical. But most industry organisations and businesses adopted a diplomatic stance.
So the willingness of some in travel to speak out has been vital. The World Travel & Tourism Council denounced the ban as “wrong” and the UN World Tourism Organisation “strongly condemned” it.
Travel is in the eye of the storm. But the ban also goes against the ethos of the industry – that travel fosters understanding and inclusion.
We stand with the WTTC and UNWTO in calling for the order to be revoked.
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