The US travel ban on six mainly Muslim countries is “clearly discriminatory” and has sent a message that the country “is not open for business”, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) president and chief executive David Scowsill said yesterday.
President Trump’s second attempt to impose the ban was halted by a Hawaii court, but the WTTC forecast spending by foreign visitors to the US would fall this year by 0.6%.
Scowsill described the travel ban as “crazy”, saying: “There has not been a single incident on US soil in the last 40 years involving citizens from one of the six countries [cited in the ban], and 9/11 was committed by nationals of countries not on the banned list.”
He told Travel Weekly: “If you were running Brand USA you would be very concerned. A travel ban knocks the brand backwards.
“The US is sending out this message that it is not open for business and it looks as though people are reconsidering whether to visit.
“It’s difficult to project, but there is definitely a Trump effect on the travel and tourism economy. So we’ve downgraded our US travel and tourism forecast.”
The WTTC published its Economic Impact Report 2017 on Monday, reporting 2016 as the sixth consecutive year in which travel and tourism growth worldwide outpaced growth in global GDP.
But it forecast a slowdown in the US from 2.8% growth in 2016 to 2.3% this year and a fall of 0.6% in visitor spending.
Scowsill called for “no discrimination” against those who want to visit the US, maintenance of open skies for airlines, investment in marketing and infrastructure, and promotion of “a sustainable approach” from the government.
He said: “What’s positive about Trump is he understands the leisure industry, he understands our industry creates American jobs, he understands Boeing supports American jobs and he has talked about upgrading infrastructure. That is positive and we want to see him follow through on all that.
“But it remains to be seen what the US government decides to go next.”
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