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May 19, 2017

GBTA: Brexit, Travel Ban, Laptop Ban Could Pull Events Out of U.S.

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Photo by peshkov/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Brexit, the Trump administration’s travel ban and the laptop ban are adding up to an uncertain travel landscape in the United States that could cause companies to book events elsewhere, according to a new forecast from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

The GBTA’s new “uncertainty forecast” predicts a $1.3 billion loss in overall travel-related expenditures in the United States this year. The GBTA compiles the forecast using first quarter ticketing data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), publicly available travel data and the GBTA’s economic research and models.

The $1.3 billion hit includes hotels, food, rental cars and shopping expenses that inbound travelers would have spent, with $250 million representing lost spending from inbound business travelers from Europe and the Middle East. (In a blog post announcing the forecast, the GBTA said an expanded laptop ban on flights from Europe “appears imminent,” although reports conflict on that score as of press time — our partner publication Travel Agent has a full breakdown.)

Longer-term, the GBTA said it is concerned that uncertainty could have an even bigger impact on business travel as companies begin to host meetings and events in other destinations. In an earlier survey of GBTA’s European members, 45 percent indicated their company will be less willing to plan future meetings and events in the United States due to executive orders on travel, the GBTA said.

The GBTA said that the U.S. GDP will take a nearly $300 million hit, which could lead to more than 4,200 lost jobs, $175 million in lost wages and $70 million in lost tax collections. Europe is forecast to lose over $250 million in air fare spending and the Middle East will lose over $80 million in air fare, with the GBTA warning that the economic impact could take years to recover from.

“As we await the verdict on a possible expansion of the electronics ban, we have yet another uncertainty factor,” the GBTA said in a blog post announcing the study “While it is certainly different from the travel ban executive orders, and there is no doubt that the electronics ban is based on a clear security threat, it is the cumulative impact of anti-travel policies that leave the perception to many that the United States is closed for business. It goes without saying that GBTA strongly supports all efforts keep our skies safe, but we encourage TSA to pursue alternative options to effectively reduce the risk of terrorism.”

Visit gbta.org

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