The controversial election of Donald Trump as the newest US President may not immediately strike you as an issue affecting the global travel landscape, but we’ve been paying careful attention and there are some significant areas to keep an eye on in the coming months.
Travel in the US Cheaper?
Economists the world over long predicted a Trump presidency will have detrimental ramifications for the US & global economy, at least in the short term. The Dollar could weaken – in the same way that the Brexit vote caused market turbulence, the US election could cause volatility for exchange rates, particularly in the short term.
Will a Trump presidency make, as many on the left predict, a more unsafe, unstable world – bringing about wars, invasions and unrest? This is yet to be seen but Trump’s comments on nuclear arms in the East Asian region are in the least unsettling – stating that Nuclear war between Japan and North Korea may be “terrible” but it would be “pretty quick”.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – without even going into his strategies on international terrorism. If his rambunctious campaign is to be believed and he follows through with plans there could be many safety ramifications to effect travelers.
Airlines Offset Increased Costs.
Trump’s hard stance on Free Trade particularly with manufacturing hubs such as China & Mexico could see an increased cost for the Aviation industry who will need to spend more on planes and parts. Fortune magazine reports “International trips make up 64% of global air traffic, according to IATA…Executives at U.S. auto companies said they were concerned about Trump’s stance on free trade, especially his tough talk on the North American Free Trade Agreement. They all have production sites in Mexico.”
If airlines have to spend more to keep their fleets running they could decide to offset costs by increasing ticket prices as they did after 9/11 when safety & fuel became greater concerns.
On the flip-side in the short term – oil is priced in US dollars – so potentially airfares and other transport costs will fall temporarily.
Although early, we’re already seeing effects on markets and global political reactions. However, 2017 will be the real tell on how much Trump’s influence will change travel.