Comment: Travel must not be Trumped

Comment: Travel must not be Trumped

The implications of Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US presidential election so soon after the UK’s support for Brexit will be debated long and hard for months to come.

For the travel industry, there appears to be much at stake, and no more important an issue than the free movement of people, not just with regards to staffing but your customers’ freedom to visit their destinations of choice.

The prospect of new visa restrictions being imposed and increased costs levied looms large, but even before Brexit and Trump, freedom to unrestricted travel was constantly under threat.

As WTTC chief David Scowsill pointed out at the first International Travel Crisis Management Summit last week, a “tenuous” link between Isis and the perpetrators of the San Bernardino mass shooting last December prompted a review of the US visa programme.

Describing this as an “overreaction”, he warned the travel industry to be on guard for such knee-jerk responses by governments after terror attacks.

The situation regarding the resumption of flying to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt has been put down to politicians’ tendency to be risk-averse when it comes to declaring somewhere safe.

However, I’m not sure most people would be quite as confident as UNWTO boss Dr Taleb Rifai, who told

ITCMS delegates that often the safest place to travel to is one that has just been attacked.

What our industry needs from authorities is detailed, reasonable and up-to-date advice, an appreciation of the economic and social benefits of travel and a pledge that ‘close the border’ instincts will always be resisted.

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