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Travel industry news

09 Nov 2016

BY Sophie Griffiths

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What will Trump's victory mean for tourism to the US?

The world might be in shock – or delight – upon waking up to the news that Donald Trump has become US president, but it seems the news could put a bit of a damper on the country’s tourism appeal.

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How Trump's victory could lessen America's appeal to tourists

Research from Travelzoo suggests more than one million UK travellers could be set to reconsider the US as a holiday destination following Trump’s win.

The move follows a strong year for the US as a UK tourist destination, with the latest figures revealing a 3% rise in British tourists to the country for the first four months of 2016.

However after news emerged that the Republican nominee had won the US election, Travelzoo said it was forecasting an “unstable 2017 for US tourism, with one million UK travellers set to reconsider the country as a holiday destination”.

Joel Brandon-Bravo, Travelzoo’s UK managing director said: “Our research, conducted before the election, shows nearly a third (31%) of UK travellers will now reconsider travel to the US following a Trump win, while 1 in 5 (20%) will definitely not consider it as a travel destination.

“Other factors, such as the falling value of the pound and outbreaks of the Zika virus appear to have had little change on our desire to travel to the US, but today’s results look set to have an impact.”

He added that the news could “benefit Canada as a long haul destination”, with the travel site’s latest trends research placing the country as the fourth most popular destination for Britons.

“We predict that those now reconsidering travel plans to the States could instead opt for Canada as their preferred travel destination,” he added.

Meanwhile Travelzoo noted that the “value of the dollar was in free-fall across the global market.”

Brandon-Bravo added: “We see this as a double edged sword for the UK economy; while on the one hand a continued slump may negate the impact of the pounds devaluation post Brexit, it may also deter US travellers from visiting the UK, something the industry here will need to address.”

 

Elsewhere, Andrew Shelton,managing director of global flight search and travel deals website, Cheapflights.co.uk said since campaigning had "started in earnest", the business had seen "a steady decline in preference for it as a destination".

"This reached 52% in the final week, compared to earlier this year," he added.

"We know that the USA is perennially the most popular long haul destination for British holidaymakers, with New York being the most searched-for city in the world, but the reality of a Trump White House may drive further uncertainty. It could mean Brits delay booking their stateside holidays until the dust settles or even consider switching to an alternative destination, such as Canada.

“Overnight, searches for one-way flights from the US to Canada increased by 133% compared to a month ago.

“Last year, the UK welcomed US tourists who spent £3 billion and whilst we’re confident that Brits 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.”

 

Earlier this year, managing director of the Intrepid Group James Thornton told TTG he believed a Trump presidency would put travellers off heading to the US through the operator.

 

Speaking back in June, Thornton said: “Fantastic cities like New York and Los Angeles and iconic sites like the Grand Canyon – people are always going to want to go and see them for sure. But if someone like Trump got in, it would potentially make people say ‘maybe you know what? I’m not interested in the US’.

 

“People move away from destinations for certain reasons and sometimes it’s political, social or environmental, but I think that if Trump gets in we will see less passengers travelling to the US through Intrepid.”

 

His comments came in the week following the murder of 49 people at LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando.

 

Thornton added that he believed Trump taking charge in the White House would have a “wider impact” on the operator’s bookings to the US than the threat of terrorism.

 

“Trump would have more of an impact if he gets in than isolated incidents like this [the Orlando shooting], as people are more resilient to [terrorism],” he said.

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