Trump travel ban has minimal impact on tours to US: Agents

Bookings to the United States have been largely unaffected by US President Donald Trump's executive order banning travellers from several Muslim-majority countries in January, travel agencies here said.

While Singaporean travel interest has shifted to more exotic European destinations, bookings to the US remain steady, they said.

President Trump signed a new order restricting travel to the US on Monday, after the initial ban was rejected by federal courts.

International travel to the US dropped by 6.5 per cent in the eight days following the ban on Jan 27, data by travel-analysis firm ForwardKeys showed last month.

Travel search engine Kayak's data showed the number of searches for flights from Singapore to the US dropped by 10 per cent in the two weeks following the implementation of the travel ban.

Search volumes have since rebounded to a level similar to that of last year, it said.

SA Tours managing director Kay Swee Pin said: "The US market has not been vibrant for the last few years to begin with, so it doesn't really affect us."

A spokesman for C&E Holidays said that US bookings have been steady at about 10 to 15 a month.

Chan Brothers Travel said that it saw double the bookings for US tours last month compared with the same month last year, off strong sales at two fairs. It does not expect demand to slow in the short run.

Still, with long-haul travel concentrated at the year end, it may be too early to tell the full effect of a foreign policy viewed as unwelcoming, said Dynasty Travel spokesman Alicia Seah.

"It may have an adverse reputational impact, particularly among Muslim travellers from Asia who fear immigration hassle. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Trump travel ban has minimal impact on tours to US: Agents'. Print Edition | Subscribe