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Travel to US drops by 6.5% after Trump's immigration ban

Arrivals from Trump's seven banned countries from 28 January to 4 February were down 80 percent
Bookings from Western Europe and Asia-Pacific region each fall about 14 percent (Reuters)

Travel bookings to the United States fell 6.5 percent in late January compared with last year, in the wake of President Donald Trump's travel ban, according to a report on Wednesday. 

The travel restrictions apparently deterred travellers from outside the seven Muslim-majority countries hit by the ban, according to data from ForwardKeys, a travel analysis firm.

The executive order, signed on 27 January and suspended by the courts since 3 February, blocked the arrival of travellers and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. 

Arrivals from those countries from 28 January to 4 February were down 80 percent from the same period of 2016, the report said. 

But bookings from Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region each fell about 14 percent, while those from Northern Europe were down 6.6 percent. The data excludes China and Hong Kong because of the Chinese New Year holiday impact.

"The data forces a compelling conclusion that Trump's travel ban immediately caused a significant drop in bookings to the USA and an immediate impact on future travel," ForwardKeys CEO Olivier Jager said in the report.

"As inbound travel is an export industry (it earns foreign currency), this is not good news for the US economy."

While he cautioned that the data represents just an eight-day snapshot, the report said the period represents the first consistently long run of declines from the corresponding year-earlier period since before the presidential election in November.

'As inbound travel is an export industry (it earns foreign currency), this is not good news for the US economy'

In addition, total international bookings for travel to the US for the coming three months have slowed amid the continuing immigration controversy. While they are currently 2.3 percent ahead of last year, they had been running 3.4 percent ahead just eight days earlier, the report said.

A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary stay on Trump's immigration order last Friday, but the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion at the court of appeals in an attempt to reimpose the restrictions.

The ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is hearing arguments over the next few days over whether to restore the immigration ban from Justice Department lawyers and an opposing attorney for the State of Washington.

The case against the Trump administration, brought by the states of Minnesota and Washington, is ultimately likely to go to the US Supreme Court.

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