President Donald Trump’s ban on nationals from seven countries entering the US appears to be deterring travellers from other countries around the world too, according to data from ForwardKeys, a travel intelligence analyst, which monitors travel patterns by analysing 16 million flight reservation transactions a day.
The findings show that after Mr Trump’s initial travel ban (imposed on January 27) net bookings issued from those seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) between January 28 and February 4 were down 80% on the same period last year.
ForwardKeys also looked at wider international trends in bookings to the US and discovered a 6.5% negative variation compared with the equivalent eight-day period the year before. It suggests the turmoil over his ruling is putting off people travelling to the US from many regions of the world, beyond the Middle East. (The analysis excludes China and Hong Kong because of the seasonal effect due to the timing of Chinese New Year.)
Bookings from Northern Europe were down 6.6%, from Western Europe were down 13.6% and from Southern Europe down 2.9%. Travel from the Middle East was down 37.5% and from Asia Pacific down 14%. If one analyses total outbound bookings from each of those regions to provide a benchmark, in every case, the USA has lost market share as total outbound travel from Northern Europe was flat, from Western Europe was down 1%, from Southern Europe was up 3.1%, form the Middle East was down 13% and from Asia Pacific was down 8.9%.
Against this trend, bookings from Central/Eastern Europe and The Americas were up 15.8% and 2.3% respectively For the Middle East as a whole – beyond the banned countries – during the last year, bookings to the US were already down 8.8%, but focusing on bookings issued from January 28 to February 4, they fell 38%. Bookings from Saudi Arabia were down 60% but the substantial decrease is probably due partly to a school break, from Jan 26 – Feb 5, which fell at a different time last year.
Olivier Jager, CEO, ForwardKeys, said: “The data forces a compelling conclusion that Donald Trump’s travel ban immediately caused a significant drop in bookings to the US and an immediate impact on future travel. As inbound travel is an export industry (it earns foreign currency), this is not good news for the US economy. However, one must bear in mind that this is just an eight-day snapshot from when the ban was put in place and we will continue to monitor what happens as the political situation develops.”