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What Impact Could Trump Have on the Travel Industry?

With Donald J. Trump taking office as the 45th president of the United States of America, travel may be poised to change. While Trump's campaign never addressed the tourism industry specifically, Trump spoke on a number of issues that could directly affect travel, including possibly reversing the course with Cuba, barring Muslims from entering the nation, building a wall along the border of Mexico and planning to rebuild the nation's infrastructure.

"Some travel industry leaders have expressed optimism for the new administration's impact on travel and tourism policy, given President-Elect Trump's experience in the hospitality industry, with hopes and expectations that he'll have a receptive ear to travel industry issues," said Lisa Simon, CTP, executive director, International Inbound Travel Association. "However, it's still too early to tell how the administration will follow through on his overall campaign promises—many of which could negatively impact inbound travel to the United States—and if there will be actual policy changes that help or hurt travel to the United States."

As the travel industry steps into the next four years, however, the Trump administration's policies and rhetoric could affect travel to, from and within the United States.

"From the international inbound travel perspective, we'll be watching a few key indicators to evaluate the impact on international visitation to the United States," Simon said. "Number one is the strength of the USD—economic conditions will continue to drive traveler's decision making—and how new trade policies might impact it."

Simon also notes that comments made by Trump throughout his campaign raise the possibility of more restrictive inbound travel policies, subjecting visitors to higher levels of scrutiny.

Additionally, there's the matter of how visitors and other nations perceive the United States as a travel destination. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2015, the United States' image around the world was "largely positive" with a media of 69 percent holding a favorable opinion and 24 percent expressing unfavorable views.

Following the election and subsequent demonstrations in November, however, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a travel warning, advising citizens to take increased security measures, citing that demonstrations occasionally became violent and that the United States has seen an increase in anti-foreign and racist physical attacks and harassment.

"Trump's campaign rhetoric, as well as his promises on immigration and building a wall on the Mexican border, may send a message to potential customers that they are not welcome in the United States," said Simon. "If these policies remain, the travel industry will have to work hard to counteract that perception and help educate the administration on the importance of the travel industry—specifically international visitation—to the nation's economy."

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for
Groups Today magazine.

Rosenbloom, Stephanie. "What Impact Will Trump Have on Tourism?" , November 10, 2016.
Vora, Shivani. "Turkish Travel Warning Cautions Citizens About Travel to U.S." The New York Times, November 2016.
Wike, Richard, Bruce Stokes, and Jacob Poushter. "America's Global Image." Pew Research Center, June 2015.


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