Industry groups including IATA, WTTC, airline and tour brands take aim at Trump’s immigration ban, saying it’s caused ‘confusion’ with travel and tourism ideals now “under threat”.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President & CEO, David Scowsill did not hold back in an issued statement expressing the association’s view on the ban saying it goes against travel and tourism fundamentals and is “wrong” while urging POTUS Trump to reconsider his stance on immigration to the US.
“The Executive Order issued by US President Trump on 27 January 2017 banning travel to the US from seven countries for 90 days goes directly against the fundamental right of Freedom to Travel. It has created immense confusion among travellers and travel companies worldwide,” Scowsill said.
“WTTC believes that all people have the right to cross international borders safely and efficiently for business and tourism purposes. The blanket suspension of admittance of travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen to the US flies against this principle.”
“Suspending travel based only on a person’s nationality or their origin is wrong.”
WTTC stated many travellers have been “unnecessarily disrupted”, due to the unclear nature of the Executive Order, “coupled with a lack of prior consultation and poor communication to airlines and border officials”.
“If this move by the Trump Administration is designed to ‘prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals’, it is important to point out that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the recent past have been perpetrated by home grown, radicalised nationals of the country involved.”
“None of the shocking domestic incidents in the US since 2001 have been attributed to external terrorists who have specifically flown into the country to commit an atrocity. Preventing ‘aliens’ from entering the US for legitimate business or leisure purposes is misguided and counter-productive for the American economy.”
“Travel & Tourism bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries, and generates more peaceful co-existence.
“Our sector is responsible for the livelihoods of millions worldwide. The US has suffered in the past from similar isolationist policies. We urge the Trump Administration to reconsider this ban.”
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also lashed out saying the Order was issued without warning resulting in confusion for airlines and travellers.
The association noted it “can only support the efficient implementation of any government’s directives by the global air transport industry with advance coordination as well as with detailed and consistent operational information.”
“Entry requirements for the United States were changed significantly and immediately … The [executive order] was issued without prior coordination or warning, causing confusion among both airlines and travelers.”
It also placed additional burdens on airlines to comply with unclear requirements, to bear implementation costs and to face potential penalties for non-compliance.”
Tour operators have also spoken out, with Intrepid Travel Global Managing Director, James Thornton saying travel ideals have “come under threat” as a result of the travel ban.
“Intrepid began as a company dedicated to the idea that travel makes the world a better place. It’s a simple idea, but potentially a radical one: by venturing outside our ordinary lives we can fight prejudice, spread compassion, and actually help those less fortunate than ourselves,” Thornton said.
“In the last few days, sadly, those ideals have come under threat.”
The tour operator said it “stands against any policy that closes borders, separates families, discriminates against religion or demonises the less fortunate,” and “strongly urge urge the American government to reinstate the rights of migrants and foreign citizens to enter the United States”.
“The free movement of people between borders is one of the fundamental building blocks of democracy,” Thornton said.
In addition, Reuters reports several tourism organisations in Asia are quickly attempting to encourage tourists turned off by the new policy to its shores instead.
With the world now getting more isolationist it’s time for Asean to start making it easier for tourists to come. need an electronic Asean visa
— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) January 31, 2017
We need leaders who want to communicate and learn about the world and make the world a smaller place. Not isolate
— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) January 30, 2017
“The Middle East is a big market for us, especially in the medical tourism sector. They may choose to visit Thailand more and this may also boost our sector,” Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.