In December, CN Traveler asked several of their trusted travel specialists for their take on how the recently elected Donald Trump would change travel in 2017. Several of them spoke presciently of the harmfulness of exclusionary policies, and how travel to the country, as a result, may drop. Now there’s data that shows it’s not just speculation.
According to a study from airfare predictor Hopper, which “analyzed flight search demand from international origins to the U.S. prior and after Trump’s inauguration,” the number of flight searches on international routes bound for the U.S. has dropped 17 percent. (Specifically, from the three weeks before Trump’s inauguration to two weeks afterward.) The change does not seem to be seasonal, adds Hopper’s data science team: Over a comparable period in 2016, for example, there was nearly a two percent decline; in 2015, international-to-U.S. demand fell about five percent over the same period.
Out of the 122 countries evaluated on searches to the U.S., 94 saw declines—a wide-ranging list that includes Australia, Mexico, and China, which have all been in President Trump’s cross-hairs of late; they saw drop-offs of more than 20 percent. The country with the sharpest uptick? Russia, where weekly flight searches rose from around 387,000 while Obama was still president to 730,000 after Trump’s immigration ban—an increase of nearly 90 percent. Other countries with spikes in search include Cuba (up 46 percent), Belarus (up 30 percent), Burma (29 percent), and the idyllic quickly emerging Tourist destination powerhouse St. Kitts & Nevis (27 percent).
St.Kitts-Nevis in the last 2 years has made tremendous strides in enhancing and improving their tourism product. The new Minister of Tourism has done a tremendous job in attracting more viistors to the island in particular cruise visitors which for the first time in history will reach over 1.1 million for the 2017 season. The new Park Hyatt Hotel which will be opened in April and the recently complete Super Yacht Marina at Christophe Harbour have set the island as the fastest emerging holiday destination in the Caribbean and the World
For the seven countries named in Trump’s order—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—weekly search demand for flights to the U.S. has plummeted 33 percent post- versus pre-travel ban.