So Here’s the (Debatable) Silver Lining to Trump’s Travel Ban
Fewer visitors = lower costs = cheaper domestic travel
So whatever you think about the executive order restricting U.S. entry by citizens of several poor, predominantly Muslim countries — i.e., whether it’s an immoral repudiation of everything America stands for or, you know, not that — the effect on the U.S. travel industry is already profound.
According to the Global Business Travel Association, the U.S. lost $200 million in business travel bookings the week after the first executive order in January. Its second iteration, which is set to take effect on Thursday, will likely not restore confidence in nervous international travelers. Taken together with the strong dollar — which depresses travel from Euro- and Pound-wielding visitors — 2017 will likely not be a banner year for the U.S. tourism industry.
But if you’re not someone employed in the hotel industry, restaurant industry, attractions industry, retail industry or anyone who would have enjoyed the benefits covered by the taxes paid by international visitors, there’s a silver lining: fewer guests will likely mean lower costs for those of us who are already within the country’s borders, thanks to lower demand. The travel ban, in fact, has had the perhaps unintended consequence of dramatically lowering some accommodation costs already:
“Kayak has identified a knock-on effect on average hotel prices. It found prices in Las Vegas are down by 39% and New York City by 32%.”
It’s not quite as bad, but it’s in the neighborhood of the drop in accommodation prices seen in Paris following the November 2015 attacks across the city. Hotel costs there fell by as much as 55 percent in 2016.
Taken from the POV of someone who cares primarily about lowering his own vacation costs (and again, is not employed, or patronized, by anyone in the travel industry), this is terrific news. Look for the biggest discounts in places and attractions visited by the biggest share of international visitors: according to Escape Here (via Mic), those cities are Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, San Francisco, Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. While National Park fees could remain steady, look for new bargaining power with tour outfitters. And expect prices at theme parks to shift downward as well — if not at the ticket booth, then in food, drink and other auxiliary costs.
You know what they say: a penny saved is the result of a vaguely fascistic political maneuver that was deemed unconstitutional by the American judicial system.
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