Closed Borders Risk Jobs
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) president and CEO, David Scowsill is warning that:
“The United States is in danger of taking the same path it took after the 9/11 terror attacks, which led to a decade of economic stagnation in the travel and tourism sector.”
Scowsill issued the warning in a speech at the Routes Americas aviation conference in Las Vegas.
During the event’s Strategy Summit, Scowsill stated that:
“Strict visa policies and inward-looking sentiment led to a $600 billion loss in tourism revenues in the decade post 9/11, as previously reported by the US Travel Association, with a noted 9% drop in international arrivals in the period of 2001 – 2009.”
And he continued:
“The Trump Administration is in danger of steering the country in the same direction, which could have a huge impact on the country’s travel and tourism sector, which generates over 8% of the country’s GDP and supports nearly 10% of total employment in the US.”
Airlines, hotels and travel agencies are all reporting drops in international bookings to the US, following the Executive Order banning visitors from seven countries to enter the country.
This is the unintended consequence of the ban announcement, with business and leisure customers from around the world holding back on their travel plans, the WTTC noted in a statement.
And while he was critical, Scowsill also offered some advice:
- !!! Recognise that travel is a key generator of American jobs and economic growth.
- Keep tourism out of politics. Blanket bans on citizens from specific countries will not make the American people safer.
- Remember the decade of lost economic growth. Travellers have a choice and they will go elsewhere.
- Use the technology available to share information. That will ensure that only the right people arrive at borders in the first place.
- Consult with the industry in advance of change. This will make the implementation of policies more orderly, fairer and less damaging.
“For the President who has promised to create jobs and to make America great again, travel and tourism seems the most obvious answer. After all, the livelihood of millions of Americans depends on people being able to use planes, trains and automobiles to spend their tourist dollars.”
The WTTC’s boss pointed out that:
“Travel and tourism thrives by breaking down barriers, not building them; by making it easier for people to travel, not applying blanket bans. Our sector bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries. It is a massive generator of jobs and economic growth.”