An alarming report from the Global Business Travel Association forecasts a loss of $1.3 billion in travel-related spending in the U.S. in 2017 due to uncertainty and anti-travel policies in the United States.
Using data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. and other publicly available information, GBTA has calculated that the uncertainty generated by the Trump administration’s attempted Muslim travel restrictions and the more recent ban on laptops and other electronic devices has cost the United States in areas including hotels, food, rental cars, and shopping expenses. The loss of $300 million in U.S. gross domestic product during the first quarter of the year could cost the economy more than 4,200 jobs, and the resulting $175 million in lost wages could mean $70 million in lost tax revenue.
Litigation continues over the travel ban, which reportedly cost the United States $185 million in the week following the announcement of the ban, but according to the GBTA the new restrictions concerning laptops in the cabin directly impact business travelers, and may not make flying safer. Mike McCormick, GBTA CEO, suggests that business travelers would rather go through more rigorous security screening than suffer a loss of productivity during the flight and risk the loss or damage to laptops which often contain sensitive company information. McCormick cautions that, “Continuing to enact policies that discourage business travel will cause a rippling effect across the travel industry and the overall economy,” citing a survey after the first travel ban that indicated that 45 percent of respondents were less willing to plan a meeting in the United States. McCormick goes on to urge the Trump administration to pursue policies that, “preserve both our national security and our economy for the future.”
Below is a forecast of travel losses from the GBTA report, based on first quarter patterns and the projected impact of policies that target the business travel community.