PHOTO: The travel community reacts to the new Travel Ban 2.0. (Photo via Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
President Donald Trump rolled out his long-awaited revamped travel ban on Monday, and the reaction was swift from many corners of the travel community.
The new ban eliminates Iraq from the original seven countries where immigrants were banned from traveling to the U.S., and it does ease restrictions on those already carrying a visa and those who are legal U.S. residents.
Still, it appears to be essentially the same travel ban on Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Syria—predominantly Muslim countries that produced a torrent of U.S. backlash at airports across the country after Trump signed his first travel ban on Jan. 27.
That initial executive order was challenged in a federal court, which ruled against the order and allowed travel from the Middle East and African nations.
This new ban announced Monday is supposed to be legal-proof, although at least one lawyer is ready to fight.
The new ban goes into effect March 16, and although White House press secretary Sean Spicer bemoaned the lack of a “surprise” announcement, it does allow airlines, airports and customs and border control agents to be better prepared than in January.
At that time, there was little to no advance warning to the airlines and other government agencies, and it became a chaotic situation for thousands of travelers and the airports.
READ MORE: Trump Signs New Travel Ban
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said that while the American travel community certainly supports bolstering national security, and the Trump administration deserves some credit for the substantially more cautious and deliberate introduction of the revised executive order, it nonetheless is unfortunate that “it doesn't appear that the administration fully seized the opportunity to differentiate between the potential security risks targeted by the order and the legitimate business and leisure visitors from abroad who support 15.1 million American jobs.”
"Clearly this revised order is very encouraging news if you're looking to come to the U.S. from Iraq. The question remains whether the revised order did enough to mollify the prospective traveler from Canada, Europe, or elsewhere around the world who may have been put off by the initial travel ban,” Dow said in a statement. “If undecided voters need to hear certain things to be motivated to get out and vote, then the same is true for undecided travelers.”
Along those lines, New York City has decided to be more proactive. New York is the No. 1 U.S. destination for overseas visitors, and the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Company, New York's, is launching a $3 million advertising campaign this month to laud its many tourist attractions and to reassure travelers that the city is still welcoming any and all visitors, as it has for centuries.
“We will work tirelessly to do all we can to preserve our city’s tourism industry in the months ahead,” Fred Dixon, NYC & Company's CEO said in a statement.
Separately, the organizers of the famous annual SXSW festival in Texas have had to clarify they are in opposition to Trump’s travel ban and have never reported an act to the immigration authorities, after musical group Told Slant pulled out of performing over perceived language in the country.
The band tweeted segments of their contract with SXSW that allowed event officials to contact immigration authorities that “affect the viability of their official SXSW showcase.”
With acts and speakers coming from 62 countries having played SXSW, managing director Roland Swenson told Austin 360 that the language in the contract was dated and more of an enforcement issue in case the bad did anything illegal, rather than an immigration deterrent.
“In the post-Trump era, it looks different than how it was intended, and how it was received in the past,” he said. “But we’ve come out strongly against the travel ban, and we’ve really been going the extra mile to make sure these bands don’t get screwed over when they enter the country.”
The business travel community is tepid about the new executive order
“This travel ban is an improvement over the January 27th version, as it is narrower in scope and provides greater clarity about those travelers who would not be subject to the ban,” said Michael W. McCormick, Global Business Travel Association executive director and COO:
“The specific exemption for legal permanent residents, dual nationals and current visa holders will help mitigate confusion for the international traveling public. Any increased restrictions on passenger travel must be based in safety and security to ensure that the ability to travel is not impeded unnecessarily. It will remain a focus of the business travel industry to hold disruptions to a minimum, and we will continue to monitor the implementation of this ban closely.”