Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Thu November 10 2016

Global Travel Industry Reacts To Donald Trump Presidential Victory

Impacting Travel | Tim Wood | November 09, 2016

Global Travel Industry Reacts To Donald Trump Presidential Victory

PHOTO: U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump. (photo via Flickr/Gage Skidmore

In arguably the greatest upset in U.S. political history, billionaire Donald Trump is the new President-Elect of the United States. The results were in question in many key battleground states until well into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, but by all accounts, Trump has locked up enough electoral votes to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. 

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has called to concede the race and President Barack Obama has called to congratulate Trump and welcome him to the White House to begin the peaceful transition of power and administrations.

The travel world will be greatly impacted by this major national and global surprise. Watch here throughout the day as the travel world reacts to President-Elect Donald Trump.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 4:20 p.m. EST:

Insight Cuba CEO Tom Popper has been doing business in and with Cuba for 16-plus years. The relaxed sanctions on Cuba have spawned a travel boon that many fear Trump will erase. Popper does not believe the new president will roll back the progress.

"In my opinion, and while much is difficult to predict with any certainty, I don’t believe the new President Elect will strive to undo the gains with regard to travel and trade as a result of Obama’s effort to normalize ties with Cuba.

"Since December 17, 2014 much has been accomplished by the Obama administration to advance trade and loosen the travel restrictions. We’ve seen Starwood take over the management of Cuban hotels, commercial flights begin, and in increase in U.S. travelers unprecedented since the 1959. Additionally, U.S. telecommunication companies have working agreements with Cubacel for cell phone coverage, and hundreds of U.S. businesses are engaging in negotiations with Cuba. Moreover, the growth in U.S. tourism to Cuba has had a positive effect on the U.S. travel industry including travel agents, tour operators and other providers of service. Furthermore, there has been growing and unprecedented bipartisan support on Capitol Hill to further loosen travel and trade restrictions. As such, these are real benefits to U.S. businesses and any such reversal would reverberate with negative financial consequences for those that opted to engage.  

"While historically, an incoming Republican Presidency would give pause for concern, the gains that I stated above, the support in the Cuban-American community for greater engagement, bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for further loosening of travel and trade restrictions, as well as the President Elect’s previous indication that he favored engagement in Cuba, would indicate that any significant change is unlikely. This is despite Trump’s campaign speech in south Florida promising to undue the Obama Administration’s Cuba policy, which is always a perennial election year necessity when addressing south Florida for any Republican Presidential candidate.”

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. EST:

Airlines For America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said he looks forward to working with Trump to achieve the goals of improving air travel infrastructure.

“We look forward to working with the Transition Team on strengthening our infrastructure in the sky to meet the nation’s growing demands on the ground. The current U.S. Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, while safe, is an inefficient relic of the 1940s. We’re eager to work with President-Elect Trump to transform it to reduce delays for the 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo that fly every day, while accommodating future growth and demand for travel and shipping.

"Our ability to create more jobs and help fuel economic growth is possible only if we’re operating within a National Airspace (NAS) infrastructure that is designed for the future,” Calio said.  “Our vision for a modernized NAS includes reforming the Air Traffic Control (ATC)A service provided under appropriate authority to promote the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air...Continue Reading | Full Glossary system so that politics don’t impede hiring and training more air traffic controllers and equipping our facilities with technology used by more than 50 countries around the world. We want to see a reliable ATC funding model – funded by the system users, not political gamesmanship – so that we can plan for the long-term capital improvements the system needs to grow.”

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2 p.m. EST:

TravelPulse senior industry analyst Claudette Covey received a number of responses to her "how are you feeling about Trump?" inquiry. Here are the latest:

Ben Gritzewsky, an agent with Frosch who resides in Merida, Mexico: "Everyone In Mexico is in shock and disbelief. The peso is free falling against the dollar, so it becomes more attractive and even a better value than before for visitors. I expect a surge in interest, and my friends are tempted to move down!

I am also incredulous about the result, but experiencing an additional interesting perspective. I was in London for WTM, and now Amsterdam, both cities teeming with people from every place and background, adding to their charm and character. I have been chatting with natives of Bagladesh, Sierra Leone, and Kosovo (all Uber drivers), and they are all amazed and disappointed. The sense is that everyone envisions a nightmarish and hostile USA and they are going to stay away. Fortunately, Americans who have passports and brains will continue to travel and be informed. And they will benefit from the strong dollar while it lasts. No telling what will happen when that wall goes up. Personally, I am thrilled to be Mexico based and we welcome everyone, as always."

Susan Ferrell, president, Travel Experts host agency: "It’s too early to tell. Much may depend on the U.S. economy – how Americans feel about their disposable income, and being able to afford to travel. Incoming tourism to the US may be affected by Trump’s promise of stricter controls on every foreign visitor. Does the rest of the world see the U.S. as welcoming? And finally, the biggest hit could come if Trump is successful in reversing the progress made toward opening up relations with Cuba.  This new market has provided huge growth opportunities and excitement in the travel industry."

Angela Turen, president and owner of Churchill & Turen, Naperville, Ill.: "There is hardly any way that the election of Donald Trump could have a positive impact on tourism abroad or the U.S.A. Given his threats to “bomb the hell” out of our enemies, and to deny entry to the US to members of one of the world’s largest religions, it is reasonable to expect that there will be a backlash toward Americans traveling abroad. I hope I am wrong.

A couple of mass-market cruise ships have pulled out of Europe so far and we anticipate that security concerns for Americans traveling overseas will see an uptick as the summer 2017 season approaches. I do believe people have a short-term memory span so I am hoping that 2017 travel season will be on course in a positive way! Perhaps travel to Moscow will be safer?"

Gary Pollard, CEO of Ambassador Tours: "“I believe in a a strong America. Our country and its citizens should look at the democratic freedom we live in and embrace change. Our world in which we live in is bigger than just one person or leader. We need to explore other cultures to appreciate what we have, thus I do not feel any impact will be felt. There will always be a knee-jerk reaction, but in short time we all will continue living our lives as we have.”

Claire Schoeder of Century Travel in Atlanta: "I am actually in the middle on this one.  Initial reaction from many indicates things might turn down a bit, however  I am more of the wait and see kind of person.  Time and time again we see an elected or appointed official do things that are completely different to the image they projected during a campaign or in a career not in the government.  Only time will tell if that happens this time.  And we also hear many people say they will not visit hear or they are reluctant to travel abroad because of our politics.  But I have seldom seen it in actual practice.  My advice to clients has always been to avoid all discussion of politics and religion when traveling abroad.  I will keep giving that advice.

"Like many people, I was not happy with either of our major choices in this election.  But I also am optimistic that things might be better than we think they will be.  And I would say the same no matter who won this time.  (I was the despair of many friends for my lack of support and/or lack of hatred for both candidates.)'

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 12:30 p.m. EST:

ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby sent out this response along with the organization's initial analysis of any Trump impact to ASTA members:

"“ASTA’s mission to represent the travel agency community remains unchanged. ASTA has maintained relationships with lawmakers and regulators that span years and decades.  Building on our success since 1931, ASTA is excited to begin 2017 with a renewed focus on both advocacy and consumer awareness initiatives, and a continued commitment to be the one, unified, voice for the travel agency community.”

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 11 a.m. EST:

From Aurelio Giordano, owner of Ace World Travel in Brooklyn, N.Y.:

"In terms of whether or not people are going to continue to travel, the economy has picked up a bit in the last two or three years so more people are doing extracurricular and leisure things like traveling. So hopefully if the economy stays the same we won't see a drop in that. But, in terms of where people are going to be traveling, I can see a shift in that because that will depend on our relations with various Nations across the board. Who knows how welcome we are going to be in places we once traveled freely, like Mexico, if relations change."

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 9:50 a.m. EST:

U.S. Travel Association and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement Wednesday morning congratulating Trump and expressing optimism that the travel industry will work hand-in-hand with the Trump administration on infrastructure and all major travel-related issues. Here is his statement:

"I congratulate President-elect Trump on behalf of the U.S. travel and tourism community, and am confident that he will be a valuable ally in advancing some of our industry's key priorities," said Dow. "Mr. Trump demonstrated throughout his campaign that travel and infrastructure issues have his attention, and we stand ready to advise his administration on achieving his stated aims in these areas. We are encouraged that Mr. Trump's extensive business and hospitality background—not to mention that travel accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. exports and creates jobs in every single congressional district—will make him a ready and receptive ear for our agenda.

"Mr. Trump has explicitly highlighted the challenges facing our nation's airports and our aviation security system on his path to the White House. He has voiced great enthusiasm for modernizing our roads, rails and airports with his promise to invest $500 billion in infrastructure reform.

"For 75 years, the U.S. Travel Association has worked successfully with presidents on both sides of the aisle to promote travel, a top-10 job creator in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Our bipartisan track record, and deep ties to lawmakers across the political spectrum, ensures that our voice will remain heard over the next four years.

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