Tourism

How will Trumpaggedon affect travel

Kate Webster

The overnight election of Trump to US President has left the world shocked, and those at World Travel Market in London were wondering just what does this mean for travel?

Shock, devastation and bewilderment: those appeared to be the main emotions among staff on the US stands at the World Travel Market in east London at what has been dubbed “Trumpaggedon” by some in tourism, according to the Independent.

America has the largest presence at the annual global travel event, where many were studying their smartphones throughout the presidential election.

Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said “following confirmation of a win for Donald Trump in the presidential election, we’re now forecasting an unstable 2017 for US tourism, with over one million UK travellers set to reconsider the country as a holiday destination.”

In a Travelzoo survey conducted shortly before the election, one in five respondents said they would “definitely” not consider the US as a travel destination if Mr Trump were to be elected. A further one in nine said they would “probably” not travel to America.

Other members of the industry reacted by taking to social media to say they were changing their US holidays to Canada instead.

Could this mean an influx of travellers to Canada instead of the US? Representatives of the Canadian travel industry at World Travel Market were quietly jubilant, because they believe they will be the beneficiary of displaced tourism to the US.

Flight Centre seem adamant that the outcome of the United States presidential election is unlikely to end the Aussie love affair with US holidays.

Flight Centre Travel Group’s Australia leisure travel businesses general manager, Tom Walley, said today that he predicted that the US would maintain its appeal as a holiday destination.

“The US has been incredibly popular and we expect that popularity to continue, given the country’s huge appeal to Aussie holidaymakers,” Walley said.

“Our US ticket numbers increased almost 40% last month and have grown almost 15% so far this financial year. The strong demand we have seen in recent times has, in part, been fuelled by some the cheapest return fares we have ever seen to Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York and other destinations.”

“We don’t anticipate that any short-term uncertainty arising as a result of yesterday’s election will deter travellers from taking advantage of these offers.”

Mr Walley said travellers could take steps to protect themselves from the impacts of possible exchange rate fluctuations in the future by paying upfront for as many holiday necessities as possible and converting spending money now.

Meanwhile, Cheapflights.com.au revealed that searches for flights to America dropped dramatically over the last week – down 19.8 per cent – as the uncertainty of the result caused Aussies to rethink travel plans.

Cheapflights ANZ Regional Sales Manager, Nathan Graham said there has been a massive 55.3 per cent downturn in overall searches from Australia to the USA when compared to before candidates were nominated in July.

“Overnight, we saw searches for one-way flights from the US to Canada increase by 133% compared to a month ago, and as the polls closed and results start to roll in, searches out of America only accelerated. Between 6pm ET and midnight, these searches were more than 1000% over the average volume in the same window over the last four weeks.

“Between midnight and 8am ET, searches for one way tickets from the US to Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Japan, South Africa and Germany also jumped by over 500% compared to the last four weeks. Last year, Australia welcomed over 580,000 US tourists and whilst we’re confident that Aussies will continue to want to visit the USA, what the ‘Trump Effect’ could mean for American tourists – faced with potential currency uncertainty and increased border controls at home – remains to be seen,” Graham added.

“With Donald Trump now elected President, we can already see the dollar improving against the greenback. This is good news for Aussies heading over to the USA over the next few months, and could give travellers as much as 20 per cent extra bang for their buck. On the flip side however, this cheaper exchange rate could spike demand and raise the cost of airfares and hotel bookings.”

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