Today, I want to address the elephant in the room – the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Love him or hate him – and I’ve found there are very few people who are on the fence about the Nov. 8 election results – Mr. Trump has now become a fact of life.
Not just for Americans.
This election has had an impact throughout the world.
I’m not here to throw my political thoughts into the whirlpool that surrounds Mr. Trump’s presidency.
But, as travelers, it’s important to understand the impact that the Trump administration has/will have on the travel industry over the next four years.
That’s why, as the president-elect prepares to take office later today, I want to address some of the concerns I’ve seen travelers bring up.
Let’s dig in…
There’s a Strong Chance Your Wallet Will Take the Brunt of It
One of Trump’s “loudest” campaign platforms centered on limiting the movement of goods and people.
There’s no way around the fact that that spells disaster for travel.
Fact is, more money is spent by international travelers in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
Trump’s anti-immigration sentiment was like a pinning a sign on the U.S. that says “No Foreigners Allowed.”
By making the United States seem less accessible, there has already been a direct impact on tourism.
In fact, a new study by travel-search company Kayak revealed that demand for flights to the U.S. has nosedived a sobering 30% since the election.
But how does this affect Americans?
The answer: a lot.
For travelers, a decrease in demand could spur fare wars.
Then we must factor in Trump’s plans to limit outside airliners.
Truth is, the USA’s legacy airlines like American, United, and Delta don’t like competition.
They would much rather American travelers to buy their (costly) tickets.
As it stands, United, American, and Delta[could] stand to profit if the government goes forward with plans to limits flights to the U.S. by Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar.
If Trump goes after the Middle East carriers, U.S. carriers could jack-up prices as they increase their profitability.
There’s also Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan to take into account.
While his lofty plans will – undoubtedly – improve airports, it will likely mean price hikes.
Your Passport Won’t Have the Same Uumph
Putting the ‘Murica pride aside, there is no denying the fact that American’s have enjoyed one of the most powerful passports in the world.
We’ve had access to 174 countries either without needing a visa or having the opportunity to obtain one in-country wherever we are traveling to.
While the U.S. visa process might not be a stroll in the park, compared to the strict visa restrictions less “privileged” visa countries face, we’ve had it easy when it comes to foreign travel.
Americans should brace themselves for a more combative narrative in foreign travel. With his aggressive trade initiatives, there is a strong possibility that countries could begin revoking visa-free agreements with the United States.
Cuba, It Was Sweet While It Lasted...
Ever since Obama worked to open the proverbial floodgates surrounding Cuba in 2015, this “forbidden fruit” country has been a big travel destination for the U.S .
Under Obama, U.S. businesses - airlines, tour operators and tour companies - made incredible progress regarding Cuba.
In fact, earlier this year, JetBlue, Delta, Alaska Airlines, American, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit and United were among the first to offer commercial flights.
Unfortunately, Trump’s administration could pose a major threat to the recent tourism boom.
Trump has already taken shots at the U.S.-Cuba deal and has vowed to work towards terminating it. unless Cuba “meets our demands,” about expanding religious and political freedoms for Cuban people.
For now, all we can do is wait to see how travel to Cuba will change once Donald Trump takes office.
The Silver Lining
When we take a step back, take our emotions off the table, and really look at the next four years, a Trump-led administration won’t be the nail in the international travel coffin.
And it shouldn’t stop you from taking that luxurious trip abroad.
Truth is, despite any personal, political feelings I have for Mr. Trump, I strongly believe that travel in 2017 is going to be a wildly different animal than we’ve seen.
Yes, the travel (and global) landscape shifts today when Trump is sworn in, but that doesn’t mean that (when it comes to travel) it’s something to be afraid of.
Until next time,