Trump win creates uncertainty in US, UK travel trade

Donald Trump’s election win has cast a shadow over the US travel sector, with key industry stakeholders here in the UK predicting a decline in inbound tourism from Great Britain and other traditional high-value source countries. 

US President-elect Donald Trump.
US President-elect Donald Trump.

According to Travelzoo research, more than 1 million UK travellers are set to reconsider the US as a holiday destination following the Trump win.

“At the end of last year, Travelzoo predicted 2016 would be the year of the US for UK travellers, and it seems we were right with the latest available figures for the first four months of the year showing a 3% rise in UK tourists to the country,” commented Joel Brandon-Bravo, Travelzoo’s UK managing director.

“But following confirmation of a win for Donald Trump in the Presidential election today, we’re now forecasting an unstable 2017 for US tourism, with over 1 million UK travellers set to reconsider the country as a holiday destination.

“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.”

Andrew Shelton, managing director of global flight search and travel deals website, Cheapflights.co.uk said there were “a lot of variables in play” following Trump’s win.

“Since campaigning started in earnest, we’ve seen a steady decline in preference for it as a destination, which reached 52% in the final week, compared to earlier this year,” he said. “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.”

Brandon-Bravo agreed with these sentiments. “It could benefit Canada as a long haul destination, with our latest trends research putting 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.”

According to Shelton, the impact won’t only be felt on this side of the Atlantic. “Overnight, searches for one-way flights from the US to Canada increased by 133% compared to a month ago,” he said.

“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,” he added.

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