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Trump’s executive order – a big step backwards in cultural understanding?

01 February 2017
1 Feb 2017 -

 

On Friday the 27th of January, the world watched in disbelief as President Trump took his first step towards retracting the United States from globalism by signing an executive order denying nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen travel into the US.

WYSE Travel Confederation joins the UNWTO and leading travel industry associations around the world, in their refutation of the travel ban and we maintain freedom of travel is a right, not a privilege.  For the youth travel industry, the executive order goes against the very ethos of our community, it poses limitations rather than opportunity.

284 million 15 – 29 years’ olds were on the move  in 2016 –  young people crossed borders to excel professionally, learn a new language, volunteer, au-pair or just to travel to immerse themselves in a different culture, gaining an experience of a life-time.

In the last couple decades, cross-cultural travel for young citizens of the world has been increasingly accessible with more and more countries from around the globe liberalising their  immigration policies to support youth mobility.  Last week, the US Administration took a big step backwards with the travel ban.

What the short to medium term impact of the USA’s temporary travel ban will have on the overall youth travel industry both inbound and outbound is unknown.  In the last few days however, universities around the US have advised students of affected countries not to travel overseas until further notice, US citizens intending to travel internationally are bracing themselves for potential difficulties and sectors of the youth travel industry are hoping there won’t be a ripple affect that will harm the destination’s competitiveness and thus their bread and butter.

Immigration into the US is of course not only critical to the success of the travel industry, but also in terms of jobs creation. According to the US Travel Association 1 out of 9 jobs depend on tourism, an industry which the youth travel market segment makes a significant economic contribution.   WYSE Travel Confederation urges the US Administration to recognise the value of the USD 283 billion youth travel industry, the significance of this market segment to the US and the cross cultural and social benefits it creates world-wide.