LONDON, 15 February 2017: “The United States is in danger of taking the same path it took after the 9/11 terror attacks, which led to a decade of economic stagnation in the Travel & Tourism sector,” said World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), president & CEO, David Scowsill, during a speaking engagement in Las Vegas, Tuesday.
“Strict visa policies and inward-looking sentiment led to a USD600 billion loss in tourism revenues in the decade post 9/11, as previously reported by the US Travel Association, with a noted 9% drop in international arrivals in the period 2001 to 2009.”
“The Trump Administration is in danger of steering the country in the same direction, which could have a huge impact on the country’s Travel & Tourism sector, which generates over 8% of the country’s GDP and supports nearly 10% of total employment in the US,” warned Scowsill.
Airlines, hotels and travel agencies are all reporting drops in international bookings to the US, following the executive order banning visitors from seven countries to enter the country. This is the unintended consequence of the ban announcement, with business and leisure customers from around the world holding back on their travel plans.
Scowsill offered five pieces of advice to the President’s advisors:
Recognise that travel is a key generator of American jobs and economic growth.
Keep tourism out of politics. Blanket bans on citizens from specific countries will not make the American people safer.
Remember the decade of lost economic growth.
Travellers have a choice and they will go elsewhere.
Use the technology available to share information. That will ensure that only the right people arrive at borders in the first place.
Consult with the industry in advance of change. This will make the implementation of policies more orderly, fairer and less damaging.
“For the President, who has promised to create jobs and to make America great again, travel & tourism seems the most obvious answer. After all, the livelihood of millions of Americans depends on people being able to use planes, trains and automobiles to spend their tourist dollars.”
“Travel & tourism thrives by breaking down barriers, not building them; by making it easier for people to travel, not applying blanket bans. Our sector bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries. It is a massive generator of jobs and economic growth,” Scowsill concluded.
The World Travel & Tourism Council is a global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism.
WTTC’s annual Global Summit, due to be hosted in Bangkok this April, brings together over 900 delegates to discuss the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the industry, while its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise the industry’s power to be a positive force in sustainability.