US Tech and travel tackle Trump

BANGKOK, 1 February 2017: A coalition of US technology firms plus travel giant, Expedia, are planning campaigns to challenge Trump’s travel ban order according AFP which quotes industry sources.

Technology leaders, Google parent Alphabet, Netflix, Airbnb and Twitter are leading the campaign.

The immigration crackdown is expected to have a big impact on the technology sector that employs hundreds of immigrants. US technology companies also routinely bring hundreds foreign employees to work at their head offices for specific projects, or to advance career opportunities.

inside no 6In the online travel booking space, Expedia was joined by other online travel suppliers Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Lyft and Uber. They all condemned the Trump administration’s executive order to temporarily ban immigrants, refugees, and even green cardholders from seven majority-Muslim countries.

But elsewhere in travel, airlines, major hotel groups, travel associations such as the World Tourism and Travel Council, UNWTO and the Pacific Asia Travel Association travel industry remained largely silent.

Expedia’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is an immigrant from Iran, argued that President Trump hastily wiped out the country’s roots as a nation of immigrants with the stroke of a pen.

Khosrowshahi said in his statement released Tuesday: “The President’s order represents the worst of his proclivity toward rash action versus thoughtfulness. Ours is a nation of immigrants. These are our roots, this is our soul. All erased with the stroke of a pen.”

“As Expedia Inc we will do everything we can to protect and help our employees and travellers. That’s our job. Hopefully our government can do its job, thoughtfully, and with just a bit of respect for our immigrant past.”

inside no 6.1Trump’s order bars US entry for travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It also suspends the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.

It has led to the detention of more than 100 people at US airports and mass protests in many cities, and raised howls of protests abroad.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer pushed back once more Tuesday against the tide of criticism.

“This is not a Muslim ban. It’s not a travel ban,” he told reporters. “It’s a vetting system to keep America safe. That’s it. Plain and simple.”

Trump received a vote of support Tuesday from House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan, who defended the restrictions as a legitimate way to keep out potential terrorists.

“There is nothing wrong with taking a pause and making sure we had the proper vetting standards in place so that we do not have a problem like France had with Paris,” Ryan said, alluding to November 2015 suicide bombings and shootings that left 130 people dead in the French capital.

(Sources: AFP, Skift, CNN, BBC)