US Travel Association and SAP react to Trump executive orders

The US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow has issued a statement on the executive orders signed last week by US President Trump. The statement read: “People all over the world want to visit the US and the US travel community strongly supports efforts to ensure that visitors to this country are unimpeachably legitimate. In doing so, it is imperative we find the right balance between security and facilitation, and we stand ready to support the administration and Congress to achieve this goal.

“We recognise the new administration’s desire to review visa issuance protocols with respect to countries that have a heightened risk of terrorist activity or weak law enforcement co-operation with our government. We urge the administration to conduct this review quickly, and trust that it will yield an even more secure travel security system that protects international travellers and welcomes them into our country to conduct business and to enjoy our cities, attractions, national parks and landmarks.”

Meanwhile, French national carrier, Air France, became the latest travel company to have to stop passengers from Muslim countries from travelling to the US because they would have been barred entry under the new immigration rules.

The airline said in a statement that it had no choice but to bar the 15 passengers from boarding US-bound flights.

An airline spokeswoman said on 30 January that the passengers were from seven Muslim-majority countries affected by the three-month immigration ban: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Conference organisers may be facing a situation where strictures on choices of speakers or delegates.

Reports of incidents involving harassment at US airports could also feed in to falling visitor numbers.The ban orders could mean that the organisers of some large upcoming technology conferences in the US may have to rethink their hosting locations.  Tech corporations, like Google, Facebook and Salesforce, issued statements against the order, some stating it would affect their workforce. The Dow index plunged on the news of the ban’s implications spread on 30 January.

SAP CEO Bill McDermott sent a letter to his staff of 84,000 opposing the ban. The German software company has its HQ in the United States. The statement read, in part: “SAP respects the rights of all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, class or creed. The company is proud to employ a diverse group of individuals and will not support discrimination against people’s Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.”

“If you’re scared, stay strong. If you’re frustrated, stay active,” McDermott wrote. “To all our nervous families wondering about your place in the world, we are always in your corner.”

McDermott famously gave the keynote at IMEX in Frankfurt in 2015, said: “Why do I admire the meetings industry? You are on the frontline in the battle against all the bureaucrats that think that emails and PowerPoints ever changed a darned thing.

“Meetings matter – you have to celebrate the victories, reinvent the business and inspire the people.”

Have you been affected by the US travel ban? If so, please email editor Paul Colston at pcolston@mashmedia.net.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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