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US hotels and airlines are cutting prices as inbound travel drops following the stance on immigration by President Donald Trump, chief executive of Expedia has said.
Dara Khosrowshahi has called on the US administration to present an “open and friendly face” to the world amid falling interest in visiting the country.
“I think that because of some of the perceived positions coming out of the current administration, the US as a destination is potentially looking less attractive as a product,” Khosrowshahi told The Financial Times.
“One of two things is going to happen. Either the US has to go on sale in order to keep volumes up, or volumes are going to come down. When we look at our business, the leading indicator is pricing. Pricing has come down,” he said.
Expedia said it will reveal the full picture behind the pricing shifts when it reports its first-quarter results next month.
A recent study from the GBTA showed around half of European buyers expect a reduction in business travel for their company following Trump’s travel ban.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) warned in March that “anti-foreign sentiment” along with the strength of the dollar has caused a drop in inbound tourism.
Travel and Tourism contributed US$1.5 trillion, or 8.1 per cent, to the country’s GDP in 2016 and supported over 14 million jobs, which is 9.4 per cent of total employment. For 2017, growth is expected to be 2.3 per cent, slower than the rate of 2.8 per cent seen in 2016.
“The message that we are giving to the administration is . . . it’s very much in our economic interest to present an open and friendly face to the world,” said Khosrowshahi.
Khosrowshahi also told TheFinancial Times it’s building on plans to own every leg of the traveller’s journey with investment in voice and chatbots such as Amazon’s Echo speaker.“When you land and we tell you your luggage is coming out of baggage claim, we should offer you ‘do you want an Uber to your hotel?’ Or, ‘If you click right now, you can get a Hertz rental car for 20 per cent off, because Hertz has some extra cars in its parking lot’,” he said. “We’re talking to everybody right now but stringing it together is pretty challenging.”