‘Trump slump’ in US travel industry

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Analysts estimate that President Trump has cost the US travel industry $185m in lost revenue.

 

Experts have warned that policies implemented by President Trump and the hostility travellers are facing from US Customs and Border Protection officers is keeping people away from visiting the US.

 

In the less than two months that President Trump has been in office, analysts have estimated that the US travel industry has taken a $185m loss.

 

Travel search engine, Kayak, reported a 58% drop in searches for flights to Tampa, Orlando and Miami from the UK. Searches for San Diego were also down 43%, as well as Las Vegas by 36% and Los Angeles by 32%.

 

Flight app Hopper, experienced that in 94 of 122 countries, there was a decline in flight searches to the US. However, interestingly there was a notable exception in Russia, where flight search demand to the US was up by 88%.

 

Last weekend, Secret Flying produced a poll on Twitter asking whether people were put off visiting the US since Trump took office. The results showed 66% were indeed less inclined to visit.

 

Reports have emerged that CBP officers have demanded travellers to disclose their social media passwords to be granted entry into the country. In addition, a number of visitors have had their mobile phones confiscated and subsequently analysed.

 

Earlier this week, Celestine Omin, a Nigerian software engineer, was detained upon arrival at JFK International Airport despite having a valid travel visa. The CBP officer was unconvinced Mr Omin was a real software engineer and so therefore prepared a 10-question test on the subject.

 

Mr Omin said: “No one would tell me why I was being questioned. Every single time I asked why he was asking me these questions, he hushed me”.

 

Mr Omin described the test questions as being too vague and as if they were written after a quick look at Wikipedia. After attempting to answer the poorly prepared test, the CBP officer said: “Look, I am going to let you go, but you don’t look convincing to me.”

 

Last month, Juhel Miah, a British Muslim teacher, was travelling on a class trip with school children and other teachers from Iceland to the US. He was escorted off the plane prior to departure and told he was not allowed to enter the US with no explanation why.

 

The incident occurred a week after a US appeals court had upheld a decision to suspend President Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned entry to the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.

 

Many Trump supporters reject that the slump is due to the President’s policies. Instead they blame the strong US dollar which results in overseas travellers getting less for their money and therefore find the US to expensive to visit.