Travel Ban Is On Hold, But Creates Confusion

The Ninth Circuit Federal Court ruled on Thursday, February 9, in a unanimous opinion to sustain a prior ruling that voided the Executive Order banning travel to the United States by people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. President Trump says he is not going to appeal the decision for now, but is working on a new Executive Order on national security.

The topic of the travel ban was one of the hottest topics at last week’s IITA Summit on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Although information provided by the U. S. Department of Commerce and its National Travel and Tourism Office projected another year of growth based on information collected in the fourth quarter of 2016, anecdotal information and comments from other travel industry sources suggest that there has been an initial reaction from travelers, based on the confusion of who can travel and be assured of their ability to return home.

Dual citizens, green card holders, families with children who are US citizens with parents who are not, and others concerned about whether their status could change by another executive order seem to be modifying plans.

On top of this, there were examples from IITA members about pockets of people around the world avoiding the United States because of the controversy, which has been covered in the national and international media.

IITA is very committed to monitoring this situation and looking out for the interest of its members.  One idea which was thoroughly discussed was how to provide a consistent welcoming message to be used by key national organizations, major destinations, and inbound tour operators at upcoming shows like ITB and IPW.

The travel ban probably needs to be monitored on at least three different fronts in the short term by IITA:

*First, what is the current status of the executive order and its implementation, a circumstance which is changing almost daily.
*Second, how is the market place reacting and what are actual airline and travel bookings telling us.
*Finally, how is the industry reacting to what are we learning.

In order to do this effectively, it is critical for IITA members to continue to feed any anecdotal or actual booking trends to our office in Lexington, so the leadership of IITA can speak out to the media, other travel industry leaders, and policy makers. IITA will provide regular updates on this issue in the newsletter until the matter is either resolved or a clearer policy is enacted by Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the courts.