PHOTO: The 2026 World Cup host will be selected in May 2020. (Photo via Flickr/Jarrett Campbell)
President Donald Trump's controversial executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. has had an immediate impact on the travel industry.
While the travel ban has since been overturned by a federal court, it's possible that the second executive order Trump has promised could deliver a fatal blow to the U.S.'s chances of hosting the 2026 World Cup and thus squander a potential golden opportunity for America's tourism industry.
"It will be part of the evaluation, and I'm sure it will not help the United States to get the World Cup. If players cannot come because of political decisions, or populist decisions, then the World Cup cannot be played there," UEFA president and FIFA vice president Aleksander Ceferin told the New York Times. "It is true for the United States, but also for all the other countries that would like to organize a World Cup."
"It is the same for the fans, and the journalists, of course. It is the World Cup. They should be able to attend the event, whatever their nationality is. But let's hope that it does not happen."
Iran, one of the seven countries Trump targeted through his executive order, has played in three World Cups since 1998.
Undoubtedly a favorite to land 2026 World Cup hosting duties, the U.S. must submit its bid by December 2018. A decision on a host will be made in May 2020.
Although it's unclear whether a travel ban will be in place when officials begin their evaluation of a U.S. bid, the stakes are apparently high for the U.S. travel and tourism industry.
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After hosting the 2014 World Cup, Brazil's federal government revealed that the month-long tournament drew 1 million foreign tourists to the country, with 95 percent of them indicating that they planned to return, according to CNN.
The government also said 3 million Brazilians traveled domestically over the course of the 2014 World Cup.
"We lost the trophy, but Brazil won the World Cup," former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's chief of staff Aloisio Mercadante said in a statement back in July 2014.
The U.S. last hosted the World Cup in 1994. According to WorldFinance.com, that year's tournament final alone brought in a profit of $620 million to Los Angeles, easily surpassing the economic impact of the Super Bowl.