Donald Trump uncertainty slowing US travel bookings, reveals new data
Demand for travel to the United States (US) over the coming months has flattened out following a positive start to the year, with uncertainty over a...
Demand for travel to the United States (US) over the coming months has flattened out following a positive start to the year, with uncertainty over a possible new travel order likely deterring visitors, travel analysis company ForwardKeys said on Monday.
ForwardKeys, which analyses 16 million flight reservations a day from major global reservation systems, also said that travel from the United States to and from the Middle East has been especially hard hit after President Donald Trump's move to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
"Uncertainty reigns and the presidential rhetoric appears to be deterring visitors to the US," ForwardKeys founder Olivier Jager said in a statement. US travel demand is set to be a topic at hotel and travel conferences in Berlin.
The chief executive of hotels group Marriott International said it was too early for conclusive evidence and that currency moves could also be playing a role, particularly for travellers from Europe. "The comments and actions of the new Trump administration are not helpful, but we're not seeing the data that would suggest they've been terribly harmful," said Arne Sorenson in Berlin on the sidelines of the IHIF hotels conference.
After the travel ban was imposed in January, international travel to the US dropped by 6.5% in the following eight days, ForwardKeys data showed in February. In its latest update on Monday, ForwardKeys said bookings to the United States recovered after the courts halted the ban, but dropped again in the nine days after plans for a new ban were announced on February 17.
Overall, bookings for travel to the United States over the next three months are 0.4% down on in 2016, whereas they had been 3.4% ahead the day before the travel restrictions were imposed. The study also showed that accumulated US bookings to the Middle East were up by 12% in 2016 in the three weeks before the ban. However, in the four weeks following the ban they were down 27%.
Emirates and Qatar Airways, two of the Middle East's biggest airlines, declined to comment when asked about demand on US routes. According to travel search site Kayak, searches from Europe for flights to the US are down by 12% since the elections. However, Germans, some of the world's biggest spenders on travel, have not been deterred, with searches up 10% in that period, Kayak said.