Americans are split on the Trump administration’s travel ban along party lines, although Millennials are more strongly opposed. That’s one of the insights from the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) new “How America Travels” study, which was just released.
The study also includes reactions to big issues like airline regulations.
“We’ve approached this year’s study with a greater focus on the changing landscape for travel and the issues shaping that change,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO, in a written release. “This is part of our commitment to be an advocate for travelers, as well as for our travel agency members.”
ASTA said the study comes at a time of turmoil for American travelers, with highly publicized airline incidents, travel bans and tightened regulations and restrictions concerning carry-on items. ASTA collected the opinions of more than 1,500 travelers on a wide range of travel topics, including public policy issues such as travel bans and restrictions, airline regulation and a proposed Mexican border wall. Here are the highlights:
- Americans are evenly split on overall opinion of the Trump administration's "travel ban," along political party lines
- Most Americans (55 percent) believe a travel ban will make U.S. tourists feel less welcome abroad
- More than one in six Millennials have cancelled or called off a foreign trip due to the travel ban
- A large majority (71 percent) say the travel ban has not influenced their likelihood to travel abroad
- Most Americans (54 percent) support travel to Cuba without U.S. government restriction
- Americans are seven times more likely to believe the government favors airlines over passengers
- Eight in 10 Americans support requiring airlines to disclose all fees upfront
- Most Americans (55 percent) say a wall on the Mexican border will make US tourists feel less welcome in Mexico
ASTA presented the study results to its members during the ASTA Capitol Summit event in June in Washington, D.C., which included educational content as well as the Society's annual "Legislative Day" where over 100 travel agency executives took to Capitol Hill to speak to lawmakers about the critical issues that face the travel industry and the traveler. ASTA said it plans to further explore the project's results with its members during the ASTA Global Convention, August 27-29 in San Diego, CA.
“Our research shows Americans’ passion to travel is stronger than ever and we believe travelers deserve complete transparency from all vendors involved in the booking process, including from the government itself,” Kerby said. “The good news for travel agents is that Americans are an intrepid group and are always looking for new ways to discover the world and spend quality time with their families and friends.”
Both the quantitative and qualitative parts of the study provided ASTA and its members with insight into travelers' perceptions and expectations of travel advisors, the organization said. They learned, for example, that many travelers are driven to find highly authentic travel experiences, especially ones that will take them off the beaten path. These travelers want to know their agent has expertise and experience about a desired destination and can understand and adapt to the client's own travel preferences.