The Global Business Travel Association polled its U.S. members this week to get their reactions to President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The sampling reveals conflicting views on the impacts of the new immigration rule on the business travel industry, but many see travel disruptions on the horizon.
Respondents’ top-three concerns about how the executive order will affect their business travelers:
• uncertainty regarding green card and approved visa credibility to enter the U.S. (55 percent)
• harassment of U.S. travelers to and from the Middle East (50 percent)
• increased traveler harassment in general (50 percent).
However, nearly a quarter (23 percent) didn’t share any of the concerns listed on the survey.
A large minority of respondents predict reductions in their company’s business travel as a result of the immigration ban:
• 31 percent expect a decrease over the next three months
• 28 percent expect a decrease over the next six months
• 28 percent expect a decrease over the next six to 12 months and beyond.
Considering lasting impacts of the immigration ban, respondents’ top three concerns are:
• travel being more difficult for U.S. travelers (63 percent)
• complications in travel to the United States (56 percent)
• increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad (54 percent).
Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO, expressed his concerns over the survey results. “With 30 percent of companies expected to reduce travel, the economy will certainly take a hit. While we understand the need for security, GBTA is a strong proponent of risk-based security programs like the Visa Waiver Program. By facilitating travel and trade with 38 countries, the Visa Waiver Program spurs job creation and economic growth, while remaining the gold standard of security and efficiency in balancing the need to protect the American public while facilitating global business travel. We hope to have the opportunity to work with the Administration going forward to form policies that ensure safe, secure, and efficient travel.”
For the survey, GBTA contacted 338 U.S. buyer members via email between January 31 and February 1; 58 participated (a 17 percent response rate). Half of the respondents strongly or somewhat opposed the immigration action, while nearly 38 percent strongly or somewhat support it.