Industry reacts: Trump travel ban “goes directly against the fundamental right of Freedom to Travel”

Banner in a demonstration

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.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States - November 19, 2016: Protesters carry signs during ongoing Anti-Trump protests, with more then a thousand participating, on Nov. 19, 2016, in Center City Philadelphia, PA.

Protesters carry signs during ongoing Anti-Trump protests

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.

“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.

Email the Travel Weekly team at

    Latest comments
    1. ….ok, peeps we’re talking about the leader of the first world…. it’s not just another country…. if segregation, bigotry and prejudice plus bad manners are what trump is exemplifying the world in spectacular pomp like sydney new year fireworks, then it is not accepted nor tolerated…. the collective criticism of trump has basis and by all means justified….

    2. Oh world and media in particular (except it helps sell advertising), for goodness sake get over it. Trump won fair and square and unusually for a politician, is ACTUALLY implementing the policies that got him elected. MANY counties have prohibitions, either explicit or tacit, for entry of other countries citizens.

    3. Trump is the best thing to happen to the world in decades. Will we had more world leaders to show some guts & actually do something about very dodgy so called religions.

Air Asia america donald trump ESTA iata Immigration Ban intrepid tourism tourism authority of thailand Travel Ban Trump US President usa world tourism council wttc

Latest News

  • Tour Operators

Flight Centre leadership team visits Morocco for Planting for the Planet

Senior members of Flight Centre have visited Morocco to see the impact of its Planting for the Planet initiative. Flight Centre global managing director, Andrew Stark, joined by Flight Centre Travel Group founder and CEO, Graham Turner, and Reforest founders Daniel Walsh (CEO) and Tim Stainlay (COO/CFO), along with other senior leaders, travelled to the […]

  • Food & Beverage

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney popular Aperitivo returns to Grain Bar

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is relaunching its popular Aperitivo, now located in the George St venue’s award-winning Grain Bar. Originally launched into Mode Kitchen & Bar in 2023, Aperitivo is inspired by the classic Italian evening ritual where guests enjoy a cocktail, paired with traditional Italian antipasti bites. It became a much-loved offering for Sydneysiders […]

  • Hotels

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor unveils new electric tuk-tuks

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, the iconic luxury hotel in Cambodia, has introduced a new fleet of electric tuk-tuks, providing an eco-friendly transportation option for guests. ONiON Mobility, a green transport company based in Phnom Penh, manufactured the new tuk-tuks. The partnership between Raffles and ONiON underscores a shared commitment to environmental sustainability, the hotel said. […]

  • Hotels

Mandarin Oriental is set to open a new luxury resort and branded residences in Bali

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced plans to open a new luxurious hideaway resort with private residences in Bali’s southern coast on the Bukit peninsula. Set to open in 2027, the property promises to redefine luxury living on the island. From the cliffside plateau of elevated terraces, the resort offers dramatic panoramic views of […]

  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Agents

PONANT, Journey Beyond and A&K host Central Coast soiree for agents and clients

PONANT, Journey Beyond and A&K hosted back-to-back ‘Bring A Client’ events in Newcastle and the Central Coast, bringing together a total of 100 agents and clients over two exciting evenings recently. Representing PONANT was NSW & ACT state manager, Kristina Sambaher, who was joined by Journey Beyond business development manager NSW/ACT Deon Johnson, and Abercrombie […]

  • Destinations
  • Hotels

The Myconian Collection adds Myconian Sunrise Agrari Beach to its portfolio

The Myconian Collection has announced the addition of Sunrise Agrari Beach to its portfolio of properties in Mykonos, Greece. The addition of the property brings the collection to a total of 14 properties located in breathtaking sites across the island. The new addition has been redesigned and relaunched, promising an idyllic escape for travellers seeking […]

  • Hotels

OUTRIGGER Kona Resort and Spa completes US$60 million renovation

Hawai’i’s OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa has completed its US$60 million (AU$90 million) renovation as is once again ready to welcome guests to Keauhou, a name that signifies “New Era”. The revitalised 511 guest rooms/suites and meeting spaces blend the property’s heritage and reverence for voyaging with modern aesthetics. The concept of “koi au” inspired […]

  • Technology

Australian agents responded quickly to Crowdstrike crash

Local travel professionals and businesses moved quickly into action to provide support to the many Australians whose travel plans were thrown into chaos on Friday and into the weekend. The chaos was the result of the flow-on effect of the suspension of check-in services and flights domestically and globally. A blue screen with the outage […]

  • News and Airbnb named as the preferred booking platforms of digital nomads

A new YouGov Survey has found that and Airbnb are the most popular booking platforms for digital nomads. For this poll a ‘Digital Nomad’ was defined as someone who travels freely for an extended period (at least one week), while working remotely using technology and the internet. YouGov Surveys have found that almost one […]

  • Attractions
  • Food & Beverage

Singapore Airlines has been announced as the first airline partner of Taste Port Douglas

Singapore Airlines has been announced as the first airline partner of Taste Port Douglas food festival presented by Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas. The Taste Port Douglas Takeover Series now has a presentation partner in Singapore Airlines and features Michelin star chef, Michael Wilson from Singapore marking this the first time the festival has […]