In late March, it was estimated that President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban could cost the U.S. tourism industry $18 billion worth of lost revenue, affecting airlines, hotels and other companies, according to travel analysts and reported on by USA Today. Roughly 4.3 million fewer international travelers will visit the United States this year, resulting in $7.4 billion worth of lost revenue, while these figures will climb to 6.3 million people and $10.8 billion in revenue in 2018, according to Tourism Economics. 

A month later and no travel ban, air travel bookings for June through August is still down 3.5%, while bookings to the UK, Spain and France is up, according to the Wall Street Journal. Data from Foursquare — the geo-marketing app — indicated a decline as well.  The U.S. share of international tourism — measured by visits to "leisure locations" such as theme parks and casinos — was down 16% in March, compared to 2016.

Industry Headwinds

Airlines such as Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) could all suffer from these industry headwinds. These three companies, the largest U.S. airlines, suffered a 2.5% year-over-year decline in revenue passenger miles during February, according to The Financial Times. Hotel chains, such as Marriott International Inc. (MAR) and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT), might also experience lost business. 

Marriott, the world's largest hotel chain, already suffered notable declines in U.S. bookings from both Mexico and the Middle East in February, according to USA Today. While bookings from the former dropped 10% during March, bookings from the latter fell 25% to 30%, CEO Arne Sorenson stated during a March 21 earnings call.

Expedia and Hyatt Hotel Corporation (H) noted a slowdown in international tourism as well.

Widespread Impact

Eric Ervin, president and CEO of Reality Shares, Inc. predicted at the time of the ban that Marriott "will continue to suffer as long as the travel ban is in place." He emphasized that this hotel chain is not alone, as other hospitality firms—as well as U.S. airlines that have global exposure—will probably encounter the same fate. In addition, cruise lines and rental agencies will also be impacted, Mary Wladkowski, clinical professor of finance, University at Albany-SUNY, told Investopedia. Expedia Inc. (EXPE​) CEO Dan Khosrowshahi has also warned that taught times are ahead for the travel industry. (For more, see also: Expedia CEO Says Travel Industry in for a Bumpy Ride.)

Kevin Quigg, chief Strategist at ACSI Funds, offered a more specific assessment, focusing on customer satisfaction when determining which companies would be the most affected by the travel ban. He singled out United as having the lowest customer satisfaction score according to an ACSI assessment, identifying them as "being the most susceptible to falling out of favor as traffic on those routes is lessened by the ban." (For more, see also: Sell Short U.S. Tourism After Trump Ban.)

Quigg predicted that American Airlines would have the next biggest traffic impact, maintaining that while this company and Delta have similar customer satisfaction scores, American Airlines operates more routes to the Middle East. 

It seems that even though the ban has been struck down again and again, the American tourism industry is — and will continue — to suffer. 


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