Donald Trump Donald Trump

What Trump slump?

By Lisa Bradley

While overall visits to the US appear to have taken a hit following the release of President Donald Trump’s banned list, hardy Kiwi travellers are still eager to tour there this year.
New Zealand trade reports Kiwi interest in the destination has not waned under Trump’s leadership, and House of Travel, The Travel Corporation and Flight Centre predict the US can continue to enjoy healthy visitor numbers from here.  
The Kiwi position appears to buck international statistics, revealed this week by ForwardKeys. The travel analyst’s figures show there had been a 6.5% worldwide drop in travel to the US in the week following Trump’s 27 January release of his seven-country

ban list, compared with the same period last year.
ForwardKeys, which monitors 16 million flight reservations a day, dubs the fall the Trump Slump, suggesting turmoil surrounding the ruling put off people from countries outside the list (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from visiting the States. A block has since been placed on the ruling, which the Trump administration is now appealing.
Bookings from Northern Europe were down 6.6%, while Western Europe dropped 13.6% and Southern Europe figures were down 13.6% and 2.9%, respectively, the analysis shows. Travel from the Middle East plummeted 37.5%. ForwardKeys says visits from Asia Pacific, which includes New Zealand, had dropped 14%.
However, trade here says it hasn’t noticed any such negative impact. In fact, most companies say business to the US continues to thrive.  
Among them, The Travel Corporation New Zealand’s director of marketing and communications Tony Laskey says enquiries and bookings to the USA
are still very strong across all the company’s brands.
‘And we anticipate a busy expo season for North America in the weeks ahead.’
House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas agrees. He says rather than dropping, the company’s bookings to the US are on the rise.
‘We’re still seeing strong enquiry for the US. We’ve started off this year with double-digit growth on sales in January for the US. We haven’t seen an impact
off the back of Trump’s presidency,’
says Thomas.
Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager product, adds the USA continues to be a top destination among its customers.
‘The last couple of years have seen this consistently increase year on year, driven largely by record low fares and increased accessibility.’
Berenson says the new routes introduced by American carriers, coupled with Air New Zealand’s direct flight into Houston, are evidence the market to the US from here is healthy.  
‘When you combine the purchasing power of the Kiwi dollar against the USD, along with the great pricing we’re seeing because of competition on airfares, it is a great time to be travelling up that way and many Kiwis are making the most of that,’ Berenson adds.