The US election result may have left stock markets, world leaders and many American citizens in shock – but the announcement that Donald Trump is to become president of the US has also affected UK travel agents, TTG has learned.
Around half of all respondents to a TTG poll admitted they believed their clients would be put off visiting the US now Donald Trump has been named as president-elect, while agents told of customers cancelling their bookings, with one client even losing their £680 deposit as a result.
Moira Johnston, business associate at Designer Travel in Ramsbottom, said she had lost a £25,000 booking as a result of the US election outcome. “They had previously done a Cunard cruise on Queen Mary 2 around Boston, and they wanted to do something similar again,” she said.
“We’d been through half a dozen itineraries – it had been going on for days, but as soon as the result came through, they said that in light of what’s going on, they wanted to leave it. It’s a big loss,” she added. “They blamed the uncertainty that followed. I was so disheartened by it.”
Paul Smith, owner of Twickenham-based WOT Travel, said he had had three cancellations, with customers losing some of their deposits, while
three others had been about to book the US, but changed their minds following the election result. “They dislike Trump,” he said. “I’ve switched them to Canada, Bali, South Africa and Australia, and they were happy to spend a bit more to do so.”
Travel Counsellor Peter Croxford said he was concerned about the anti-LGBT rhetoric from Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, and admitted that while he had had seen no concerns from clients, the election result had made him personally think twice about heading to the US himself.
“My first reaction was that I don’t think I’ll be going there for the next four years. I don’t like to go to countries where I feel I’m not welcome, and myself and my friends in the LGBT community are concerned about things that have been said by [Mike] Pence.”
Despite this, US specialists Tour America, which is based in Ireland, said it had seen no impact. Veronica Flood, marketing manager, said: “We haven’t seen an impact so far on our business and there hasn’t been an increase in cancellations.”
Miles Morgan, owner of Miles Morgan Travel, dismissed any worries as a “kneejerk reaction”, and said he believed it would be the currency differences that would likely have the greater impact in the long run. “The US is a big place with a lot of regions – customers would be giving up a lot to say they won’t go.
“The biggest impact will be in what the dollar is worth against the pound, and how far people’s spending will be able to go – that will be the greatest influence in booking trends.”