US election 2020: Why Trump win could halt international travel further

With all eyes on the two horse race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, analysts say whoever wins the 2020 election will have a big consequence on the future of international travel.

According to Travel and Tourism analyst Ralph Hollister, another four years with President Trump in the White House will likely slow down any significant recovery for international travel in the US.

According to Travel Weekly, Mr Hollister predicts that international tourism to the US will continue to decline, given there has been a 2.1 percentage point slowdown since the last election in 2016.

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If Donald Trump gets re-elected, it could have a negative impact on international travel. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP.Source:AFP

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“While causation cannot be proved, there is a correlation between President Trump’s first term and a slowdown in international visitation, which should increase apprehension in the US tourism sector in the current election regarding how swiftly recovery will be realised during and post-pandemic,” Mr Hollister told Travel Weekly.

“In 2017, global international tourist arrivals were growing at a rapid rate and the value of the US dollar was in decline. These two factors should have meant near-record-breaking international tourism growth in 2017 and the following years – but this was not the case.

“According to GlobalData, from 2016 to 2019, international arrivals to the US increased at a sluggish compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1 per cent. By way of comparison, from 2013 to 2016, they grew at a much higher CAGR of 3.1 per cent.”

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The rebound of international travel in the US will be influenced by the outcome of the election. Picture: Jim Watson and Mandel Ngan/AFPSource:AFP

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According to GlobalData, international arrivals to the US are expected to see an ongoing year-on-year decrease of 75 per cent in 2020, but that is largely due to the impact of COVID-19.

With many states in the US – including Florida and Hawaii – reliant on tourism, there are fears the economy in certain states will continue to be severely impacted despite needing the quickest possible path to recovery.

“There are several reasons why a second term for President Trump could prolong tourism recovery in the US, ranging from negative views on immigration policies to bans on individuals entering the US,” Mr Hollister said.

“A significant ongoing reason is the China-US trade war. In recent years, the rapidly increasing spending power of Chinese travellers has put them at the front of many nations’ tourism strategies, given the large numbers of high-yield tourists.

“President Trump’s aggressive approach to China has impacted arrivals from this valuable source market. According to GlobalData, between 2013 and 2016, Chinese arrivals to the US grew at a rapid CAGR of 18.1 per cent. From 2016 to 2019, arrivals dropped at a CARC of 2.5 per cent.

US President Donald Trump’s aggressive approach to China has impacted arrivals from this valuable source market, according to GlobalData. Picture: Saul Loeb/AFPSource:AFP

“This trend of Chinese arrivals gradually dropping could continue beyond the pandemic should President Trump’s strained relationship with China show no sign of improving during a potential second term.”

Last month, the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) revealed that international tourist arrivals unsurprisingly plunged by 70 per cent during the first eight months of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but in a grim prediction, a possible rebound may not be likely until 2022.

While the body predicts any form of rebound won’t happen until the third quarter of 2021, citing travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic set to loom, other experts on the panel can’t see any real movement will happen until 2022.

Qantas predicts they will not be flying from the US to Australia for some time yet, with CEO Alan Joyce forecasting Australians are unlikely to fly to the United States or UK for at least another year, with its chief executive outlining that this could “potentially” happen “by the end of 2021”.

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