President Trump’s suspended travel ban has had a direct effect on travel to the United States from the Middle East.
The Airlines Reporting Corporation reports planned travel to the United States from the region is down 5.77 percent since Trump began efforts to temporarily ban visitors from half a dozen Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Given the back-and-forth on the executive orders and the court challenges we’re not sure yet where that’s going to shake out — I think that uncertainty for travelers that have discretion is leading them to say, “Well, maybe this year, we’ll go to a different destination,” said Chuck Thackston, managing director of enterprise information, ARC.
Customers purchased 383,154 fares from the Middle East to the United States during the first quarter of 2017 compared to 406,611 fares in the same period in 2016.
Surprisingly, average fares from the Middle East to the United States increased considerably this year.
While the United States hosts fewer travelers from the Middle East, visitors pay an average airfare of $1,026.28 — up nearly $200 from $857.48 last year.
Data shows the number of trips to the United States continues to climb, but the rate of growth has fallen, dropping to 5 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 85 percent during the same period in 2016.
A recent poll conducted by Brand USA, a tourism marketing agency, shows travelers of 11 countries not included in Trump’s executive order are less likely to visit the United States due to the changing political climate compared to last year.
Another recent study conducted by Virtuoso, a luxury travel network, noted a similar finding that 42 percent of affiliated travel advisors outside the United States said their clients are avoiding travel because of multiple factors, including opposition to U.S. foreign policy and concerns over obtaining visas.