President Trump’s ban on travel to the US by nationals of seven mainly Muslim countries provoked a worldwide fall in flight bookings to the US in what analyst ForwardKeys branded “a Trump slump”.
ForwardKeys reported a 6.5% fall in flight reservations to the US in the eight days following the ban’s imposition on January 27.
The year-on-year comparison excludes travel from China and Hong Kong.
Bookings to the US from western Europe were down 13% in the eight days to February 4, 6.6% down from northern Europe, 14% down from the Asia-Pacific region and 38% down from the Middle East.
The figures are based on analysis of 16 million flight reservations a day.
A senior industry figure confirmed the impact on the UK, saying: “There was an immediate negative impact on bookings and search to the US after the ban.”
USAirtours chief executive Guy Novik said: “Our bookings to the US are up this January, but we’ve seen a marked drop to Florida. I don’t know if Trump is affecting family bookings more.”
A US appeals court was considering a US government attempt to overturn a suspension of the ban as Travel Weekly went to press. The case against the ban, which was suspended last Friday, has been supported by companies including Expedia.
The suspension led airlines to confirm on Saturday that all passengers with valid documents would be welcome on flights.
BA said: “All customers with correct documentation will be accepted for travel.” However, a US Department of Homeland Security official insisted previously issued visas had been cancelled.
The Foreign Office maintained its advice that “British passport holders aren’t affected”, but advised: “Exact visa and other entry conditions could change at short notice.”
Novik reported calls from concerned agents and customers last week, saying: “There is widespread confusion. We’ve reassured people, but to a degree the damage has been done.”
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