Airbnb Sues Miami for the City’s Crack-Down on Short-Term Rentals

Skift Take: This is a rare case where Airbnb has the law on its side. While Miami officials likely think they’re fighting for locals’ rights, they’re in the wrong in regards to a state law which is widely favorable to vacation rentals.

— Jason Clampet

The home-sharing platform Airbnb is suing the city of Miami, where officials threatened to crack down on hosts who publicly protested regulations prohibiting short-term rentals.

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Miami-Dade County by Airbnb and five individual hosts, the city violated the First Amendment rights of hosts who spoke up at a March 23 city commission meeting.

At that meeting, commissioners voted 3-2 to reaffirm zoning regulations prohibiting short-term rentals of single-family homes in Miami’s residential areas. City Manager Daniel Alfonso then said code compliance officials could start targeting Airbnb hosts who placed their names and addresses on the record to attend the meeting and protest those regulations.

“The City is now acting to make good on those threats,” the lawsuit said. “Airbnb stands together with its Miami hosts in opposing the City’s unlawful efforts, and in particular stands with the brave individuals who have come forward and seek to protect their rights as individual plaintiffs in this action.”

Three off the hosts listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit attended the March 23 meeting. Airbnb officials have said the company has 2,300 active hosts in Miami.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who opposes Airbnb, told The Miami Herald that Airbnb encouraged its hosts to attend the commission meeting, knowing they would have to provide their names and addresses in order to participate.

“There is no First Amendment issue here and there is no retribution,” Regalado said.

Regalado said the city attorney plans to send cease-and-desist orders to Airbnb hosts who spoke at the commission meeting. They could face fines of $250 per day.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare vacation rentals legal in residential areas of Miami, to stop the city from adopting new ordinances against short-term rentals, to prevent any legal action against the hosts and to deem unlawful the city commission’s policy of requiring personal information in order to speak up at public meetings.

Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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United Takes a Beating and 8 Other Aviation Trends This Week

Royal Jordanian Airlines

The Jordanian national carrier had fun on social media with United’s current woes. Royal Jordanian Airlines

Skift Take: These are the aviation trends we were talking about this week.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Travelers are entitled to their own opinions, and it makes sense that Emirates is the overall No. 1. But does Aeroflot truly have the world’s best business class product? Emirates Ranks First in Launch of TripAdvisor’s Review-Based Global Airline Rankings

>>Virgin America’s Elevate members now have an official timeline for when their loyalty program is going to fold: Virgin America’s Elevate Loyalty Program Will Fold on January 1, 2018

>>British Airways has finally come around and started investing in its business class cabin. But it may be too late to catch up with Delta, United, and the Middle East carriers: British Airways Announces a $495 Million Investment in Premium Experience

>>Those traveling on Delta last week may have felt the aftershocks of a storm that moved through Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport and turned operations on their head: Delta’s Operations Disrupted By Mid-Atlantic Thunderstorms — Skift Business Traveler

>>During the decade he ran Virgin America, David Cush couldn’t always speak freely. But now Cush can discuss how airlines struggle with Google’s mobile land grab: Virgin America’s Ex-CEO Talks Candidly About Google’s Pushy Strategy

>>Consumers are more comfortable with biometrics than ever, and we can probably thank Apple for that. Now airlines are starting to ask whether they might use facial recognition, fingerprints or iris scans to make the passenger experience better: Airlines and Airports Look to Biometrics to Improve the Passenger Experience

>>If history is our guide, another airline will do something worse soon. But for now, United is taking a beating on social media, even from its peers: Airlines Add to United’s Social Media Woes Following Its Latest Controversy

>>Alex Cruz, the Chief Executive of British Airways, is in a tough spot. For years the airline has positioned itself as a premium brand and — whatever the company says — customers don’t like it when you start charging for something you used to get for free: British Airways and the Problem of Fees, Frills and Perspective

>>Delta says it is using basic economy fares to help better differentiate its products. The jury is still out on whether it will help them compete on routes where they face low-cost competitors: Delta Execs Downplay Importance of Basic Economy

 

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Apple to Test Self-Driving Car Software on Public Streets

Delphi via Associated Press

It won’t be too long before we start seeing traffic jams involving self-driving cars in Silicon Valley as Apple will begin testing them on public streets. Pictured in this undated photo provided by Delphi shows an Audi Q5 autonomous car crossover outfitted with laser sensors, radar and multiple cameras. Delphi via Associated Press

Skift Take: Apple’s taking tentative steps to join the self-driving car melee. It’s gridlock already: On the Left Coast in California 29 other companies already have permits to hit the streets to test self-driving cars. This will be the mother of all shakeouts when things get serious

— Dennis Schaal

Apple Inc. will soon take its self-driving car software platform to public streets for the first time, a major step that gets the world’s largest technology company into a crowded race to reshape transportation.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles granted clearance for trials of the autonomous driving technology on public roads, according to a notice on the DMV’s website on Friday. This is the first time Apple has received approval for such testing.

The software tests will start soon with existing vehicles, according to a person familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Cupertino, California-based Apple started designing a self-driving car to take on Google and Tesla Inc. a few years ago before it pulled back and focused on first developing underlying autonomous technology last year, Bloomberg News has reported.

The tests are the clearest, public sign yet that Apple is serious about a nascent field that could, in time, transform mobility and upend the auto industry. A quarter of all miles driven in the U.S. may be traveled in shared, self-driving electric cars by the end of the next decade, Boston Consulting Group said this month. Apple wants a piece of this action, but it’s got a lot of competition: 29 other companies have autonomous vehicle testing permits in California.

Subject to standard regulations for testing autonomous technology on public roads, Apple’s test cars will have a person behind the wheel to monitor the testing. The California permit covers three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, and six drivers, the DMV said. Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc.’s self-driving test cars also have people behind the wheel during tests.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment beyond a statement issued in December when the company filed paperwork with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding safety practices for self-driving cars. “There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry,” Apple said at the time.

The DMV’s website was updated Friday to acknowledge Apple becoming a permit holder. A March 30 copy of the website does not list Apple as having approval, indicating it was granted within the last two weeks. The permit requires companies to disclose traffic incidents related to their testing within 10 business days of the event.

Apple’s self-driving technology is being developed in secret company offices in Sunnyvale, California, a short drive from its main Cupertino campus, Bloomberg News has reported. The company also has a team in Canada working on a car operating system that would power the platform, people familiar with the matter have said.

The self-driving car platform is designed so that Apple could choose to open it up to existing carmakers or eventually port it to an Apple-designed vehicle. Apple began to focus more on the self-driving technology last year after re-hiring former hardware executive Bob Mansfield to lead the project. Apple aims to decide on the final direction of the platform by fall of this year, Bloomberg News has reported.

 

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Mark Gurman from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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The State of Global Tourism Competition and 5 Other Tourism Trends This Week

computix  / Flickr

Destinations have made progress on sustainability and visas but more work lies ahead. Pictured are tourists on a river cruise on the Seine in Paris. computix / Flickr

Skift Take: These are the tourism trends we were talking about this week.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines tourism.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>Get even deeper insight into the travel industry with two new products from Skift Research: New Research Products: More Data and More Insights Now Available

>>Break through the travel recommendation bubble with a good old-fashioned human expert: Travel Agents and the Power of Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

>>The Joint Meetings Industry Council’s “Iceberg” project is ambitious in terms of defining the value of the meetings industry more holistically, but there are a lot of challenges to provide the in-depth case studies required to quantify that successfully: How the Meetings Industry Is Attempting to Redefine Its Value Proposition

>>The meetings industry is beginning to evaluate the long-term impact of conferences on a host destination’s economic growth, and the business outcome for both local and visiting participants, with much more intention than in the past: Is the Meetings Industry Finally Understanding Its Value? — Meetings Innovation Report

>>Travel brands have an economic incentive to push policy makers and private sectors in their destinations on sustainability and leaner visa policies because tourists will reward them with higher spending and likely repeat visits: The State of Global Tourism Competition in 6 Charts

>>With less than five percent of Chinese travelers holding passports, last year’s spending totals for international Chinese travelers represents only a fraction of the market’s spending potential as millions more Chinese choose to travel abroad each year: Chinese Travelers Set a New Record for Global Tourism Spending in 2016

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Why Chinese Backlash May Not Significantly Damage United’s Business

United Airlines  / Facebook

The backlash in China against this week’s United Airlines incident has been particularly strong. United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, right, accepts an award at the 2016 National Committee on U.S. China Relations gala dinner. United Airlines / Facebook

Skift Take: Time and time again, we see that large travel companies don’t suffer a lasting impact from social media outrage.

— Andrew Sheivachman

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, Chinese online anger at United Airlines was running so hot that the hashtag #UnitedForcesPassengerOffPlane was receiving 20 million views per hour on the Sina Weibo social network. Such fury is more typically reserved for geopolitical spats with the likes of Japan and South Korea. It’s little wonder that the outrage earned the attention of United Continental Holdings Inc. shareholders, who drove the company’s stock down 4 percent while the hashtag was still atop the rankings.

On the surface, the nosedive might seem warranted. China is the world’s fastest-growing major commercial aviation market, and the preferences and prejudices of Chinese passengers will shape airline fortunes for years to come. But in the medium term, United has less to fear from those millions of irked Chinese netizens than one might think.

Remember, United is hardly the first foreign company to spur a nationalist backlash in China. In recent years, firms ranging from Toyota to Apple have suffered protests and boycotts that moved from the web to the real world. At their worst, these campaigns have received government backing. For example, in 2008, thousands of Chinese protesters targeted Carrefour, the French supermarket chain, due to rumors that the company had donated money to the Dalai Lama, as well as mistreatment of Chinese Olympic torchbearers as they ran through Paris. And in 2012, protesters boycotted Japanese carmakers in the wake of a China-Japan territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

Some Japanese carmakers required months to recover from the disruption to their businesses. But despite high-profile online and offline campaigns, the protest against Carrefour fizzled quickly as protesters put down their banners and went shopping once again.

That tends to be the fate of most Chinese consumer boycotts that aren’t rooted in long-standing regional hatreds. Chinese consumers, like their counterparts elsewhere, are simply too practical and quality-focused to let political values get in the way of a good deal or a sexy product. For example, Apple has been on the receiving end of multiple protests in recent years, many related to its warranty policies. Yet the brand remains wildly popular in China.

United’s situation is only slight more complicated than Apple’s. Much of the outrage at the airline was sparked by the widespread belief that David Dao, the passenger forcibly removed from his United flight, was Chinese. But the fact that Dao is Vietnamese-American took much of the edge off that argument. Equally important, Dao’s mistreatment wasn’t particularly extreme by the standards of Chinese airlines. Violence on Chinese flights to and from Hong Kong has become so common that cabin crew members for Hong Kong Airlines are now given compulsory instruction in martial arts to protect themselves and other passengers. As bad as United may seem, Chinese airlines are often presumed to be worse.

And United enjoys one other key advantage in China: As in the U.S., it faces little competition. Thanks to a series of bilateral agreements between the U.S. and China, U.S. airlines are allowed to make only 140 round-trip flights between China and the U.S. per week (Chinese airlines get 180). Routes to the most popular cities (Beijing and Shanghai, most prominently) are also tightly limited, giving consumers far less choice than they would have if the trans-Pacific market were completely open. That works to the advantage of United and other established airlines; not surprisingly, efforts to open up the market further have been stalled for years.

For now, that means that the impact on United’s bottom line in China — and its incentive to improve its image — is likely to be limited. But the airline shouldn’t take its position for granted. Chinese consumer tastes are evolving and growing more sophisticated. Within the next decade or two, Chinese passengers will form the world’s largest traveling public, and their influence on airlines — both foreign and domestic — will be decisive. What might seem like brief turbulence today could then become the kind of scandal that grounds a company.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Adam Minter from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Mammoth Resorts acquired by Aspen Skiing Co.-KSL Capital Alliance

Deal gives new Aspen Skiing Co.-KSL Capital Partners alliance more than 6,000 acres of southern California ski terrain and challenges Vail Resorts’ dominance in season pass sales. By JASON BLEVINS | jblevins@denverpost.com | The Denver Post The new Aspen Skiing Co.-KSL Capital Partners alliance is buying the Eastern Sierra’s Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit and […]

The post Mammoth Resorts acquired by Aspen Skiing Co.-KSL Capital Alliance appeared first on VRM Intel.

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Airline Overbooking and No-Shows Are a Long-Standing Industry Tradition

Maxime  / Flickr

Overbooking policies got the spotlight treatment this week. Pictured is an Air France economy class cabin. Maxime / Flickr

Skift Take: From the airlines’ perspective, there are merits to overbooking flights but passengers don’t want those policies to inconvenience them. For that to happen, airlines need to up the ante on incentives.

— Dan Peltier

The revelations this week that airlines overbook as a policy and that they can forcibly remove passengers when their calculations go awry has shocked millions from Chicago to China. But it’s a problem as old as the airline industry itself.

As they expanded service in the late 1940s, airlines struggled with the problem of “no-shows” — people who reserved a seat but failed to board. This was a serious problem: A half-empty plane — even one with a few empty seats — could operate at a loss, or with severely diminished profits.

Overbooking was the solution, albeit one likely discovered by accident. Prior to the 1950s, airline reservations were a low-tech affair. Each airline had a “master board” at headquarters that showed all the available seats on any given flight; regional offices maintained versions of the board as well.

The clerk overseeing the master board would put a green flag next to flights that had only a few seats left, and a red flag when filled entirely. This cumbersome system, though, did not operate in real time, so it was easy to oversell a flight by mistake.

The airlines, however, quickly realized that this wasn’t a problem: Virtually every flight had its share of no-shows. It didn’t take long for executives to realize that overbooking was a fantastic money-making strategy.

Yet no airline has ever taken responsibility for the innovation. Indeed, executives spent years steadfastly denying that they deliberately overbooked flights.

By 1950, the practice had become widespread. So, too, did the complaints of irate passengers.

In one well-publicized incident in December, 1953, a New York businessman bumped from a flight out of Newark opted to picket the plane on the tarmac, eventually sitting on the front wheel in protest. (Airline security was nonexistent at this time). The New York Times, writing a few years later about the overbooking problem, observed that this particular passenger “was doing only what hundreds of others have felt like doing.”

But the practice continued, and Congress, stirred by irate constituents, began pushing for action. In June, 1956, Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine lambasted the airlines for their “callousness”; a month later, the Civilian Aeronautics Board (CAB, a precursor to the Federal Aviation Agency and the National Transportation Safety Board) sent out a letter warning the major carriers to curtail the practice.

The number of incidents dropped dramatically, but soared again within a few months. The CAB implemented enforcement proceedings against National (later acquired by Pan Am) and Eastern (which went bankrupt in 1991, but not before selling part of the company to Donald Trump). Both were charged with overbooking as well as what was then the illegal practice of paying customers cash for their trouble. (Because bumped passengers got a better deal than everyone else, the CAB barred the practice as “discrimination.”)

The airlines fought back, claiming that any overbooking that happened was an honest mistake, not a result of policy. This, to put it politely, was highly unlikely. As Marvin Rothstein, a manager at American Airlines in 1960, later recalled, the company’s director of reservations informed him “that deliberate overbooking was practiced everywhere in the system whenever the volume of traffic made it worthwhile.” Top management condoned the practice; regional managers implemented it.

That same decade, the CAB lurched from one extreme to another in struggling to address the problem. In 1961, it supported a scheme by the airlines to penalize no-show passengers, but abandoned the idea two years later. Bad publicity. After studying the problem further, the CAB reversed course and sanctioned overbooking – padded as it was with euphemism. “Through ‘carefully controlled overbooking,’” the agency concluded in a 1967 report, “the airlines can reduce the number of empty seats and at the same time serve the public interest by accommodating more passengers.”

The CAB didn’t define “carefully controlled,” but it did mandate that airlines give bumped passengers a voucher equivalent to the cost of the original flight. This one-size-fits-all solution fell short, failing to recognize that passengers might want more to compensate them for their trouble (or might be willing to settle for less).

Enter the economist Julian Simon. In a short but cheeky article entitled “An Almost Practical Solution to Airline Overbooking” published in a very obscure academic journal in 1977, Simon proposed a novel solution: Airlines should conduct an auction, with passengers offering sealed bids as to what they would be willing to accept for the inconvenience of getting bumped. The lowest bidder (or bidders) would get bumped and receive a voucher; everyone else would fly on schedule. “All parties benefit, and no party loses,” wrote Simon.

Simon didn’t expect the article to be taken seriously. It was written in a light-hearted tone, and he speculated that airlines would reject the idea because it wasn’t “decorous.” “It smacks of the pushcart rather than the one price store,” he wrote.

But Simon was on to something. In subsequent years, airlines gradually adopted a crude version of the auction, offering vouchers at a certain price, and if this failed to attract passengers, raising the price. In recent years, some airlines have gone even further, asking passengers when they check in how much they would be willing to accept in exchange for getting left behind.

Unfortunately, the auction system was grafted onto older regulations governing how much money passengers could be paid. Today, that figure is 400% of the original fare, up to a maximum of $1,350.

If regulators want to solve this problem for good, they should consider the vexed history of overbooking and abolish this upper limit and then implement Simon’s proposal in its entirely. In other words, airlines should be permitted to overbook their flights, but when they need to bump passengers, they should only remove people who have voluntarily given up their seats for a voucher, with the price set by auction

Perhaps that price will be $500; it may well be $5,000.  But one imagines that after handing out some vouchers in the high four figures, the airlines may, after seventy years, finally curtail their reliance on overbooking.

This article was written by Stephen Mihm from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Uber Spied on Lyft Drivers Who Drove for Both Companies, Report Finds

Richard Vogel  / Associated Press

A new report suggests that Uber was spying on drivers who drove both for Uber and for its biggest competitor, Lyft. Richard Vogel / Associated Press

Skift Take: All the more reason to #deleteUBER?

— Deanna Ting

A new report says Uber used a secret program dubbed “Hell” to track Lyft drivers to see if they were driving for both ride-hailing services and otherwise stifle competition.

It’s the latest in a series of troubles for Uber, which is also dealing with executive departures and accusations of sexism and sexual harassment.

Only a small group of Uber employees, including CEO Travis Kalanick, knew about the program, according to a story in The Information (subscription required), which was based on an anonymous source who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The program was discontinued in early 2016, according to the report.

A representative for Uber did not respond to messages for comment Thursday. Lyft said in a statement to the publication that “if true, the allegations are very concerning.”

Last month, another report surfaced about a different secret tracking weapon with a sinister-sounding name. “Greyball,” as it was called, identified regulators who were posing as riders while trying to collect evidence that Uber’s service was breaking local laws governing taxis. The service allowed Uber to thwart those efforts by canceling investigators’ ride requests.

Uber acknowledged that it used Greyball, and after the New York Times report came out the company said it would shut down the system.

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Microsoft Bets on Artificial Intelligence and 7 Other Digital Trends This Week

Microsoft

Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant lets users search the web for answers via voice. A new Harman Karman device is expected to bring Cortana into more homes soon. Microsoft

Skift Take: These are the digital trends we were talking about this week.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines digital trends.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>While European Union competition authorities might be happy with the results of their crackdowns, it doesn’t look like much has changed. The market still makes it difficult for both smaller online travel agencies and the hotels themselves to compete: Hotels Still Afraid to Take on Expedia and Booking.com Despite Rule Changes

>>Travel is more exciting than a well composed and prop-heavy Instagram shot would let on. We think it’s time to start letting go: It’s Time to Rethink the Travel Instagram Aesthetic

>>Can a legacy brand like Flight Centre really transform itself and get more digital and global? Flight Centre Invests $7 Million for Stake in Leading Argentinian Booking Site

>>Microsoft thinks that voice-powered internet gives it a shot — via voice assistant Cortana — at upending today’s travel search funnel, which is dominated by Google’s search results. The theory’s plausible, but Microsoft needs to move faster to win: Microsoft Bets on Artificial Intelligence to Help It Succeed Again in Travel

>>American Express Global Business Travel is investing in technology to give travelers better digital tools and a more streamlined booking experience: CEO Interview: How American Express GBT Tackles Innovation

>>Big corporate travel players are finding solutions to improve the experience for their travelers. American Express Global Business Travel’s acquisition of booking tech company KDS last year shows one way forward: The Digital Battle to Improve Traveler Experience — Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report

>>Technology-driven innovation has done wonders for airline industry stock prices. But is that innovation also doing wonders for passengers? Right now the answer seems to be no: The Airline Industry’s Tech Problem — Digital Marketing News This Week

>>Startups raise funding for booking platforms for serviced apartments, event spaces, and branded budget hotels, while one Indian booking site gets a new investor owner: HotelPlanner Picks up TravelTicker: Travel Startup Funding This Week

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Trip.com CEO: Trump’s ‘America First’ Policies Are Hurting Travel, Killing Jobs

Choice Hotels

Some of President Trump’s policies imperil travel industry jobs. Pictured are staff at Quality Inn Oceanfront in Ocean City, Maryland. Choice Hotels

Skift Take: The bottom line is that several of President Trump’s policies and his rhetoric are a big turn-off to many foreigners and the result is a measurable adverse impact on the U.S. and global travel industry.

— Dennis Schaal

Editor’s Note: Travel community and booking site Trip.com has frequently been out-front in opposing discrimination, such as when the site updated its destination pages in 2015 to warn travelers about a law in Indiana that permitted businesses to refuse to serve various individuals if doing so violated business owners or association officials’ religious beliefs. In the same spirit, Trip.com co-founder and CEO Travis Katz is speaking out in the following opinion piece about why he feels some of President Trump’s policies are detrimental to the travel industry and U.S. jobs.

​Fifteen states ​joined forces this week in a ​brief filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting President Trump’s executive order on immigration and claiming the administration is within its authority to issue the order and that it’s a vital move to secure America’s borders.

It’s a bad idea. The Trump administration’s executive orders on immigration, and the rhetoric surrounding them, are killing American jobs in one of the economy’s most important industries — tourism — and providing Americans nothing in return.

Setting moral questions and political affiliations aside in favor of pragmatism, the business impact is severe. This is about American jobs from waitresses to concierges, from cruise ship captains to airline pilots, from travel businesses like ours to tour operators, to taxi drivers to theme parks. This is about revenue for multi-million dollar corporations all the way down to the souvenir vendors and the mom-and-pop diners that refuel kids on spring break.

This is about the impact to the $2 trillion travel industry that employs over 15 million Americans alone — to say nothing of millions more employed across the globe. 1 out of 9 jobs in the U.S. are in the travel industry. In 49 states and D.C., travel is in the top 10 industries. Tourism drives tremendous economic activity domestically and internationally, and generates useful goodwill around the world while we do it. Our efforts usher in 77.5 million tourists to the U.S. each year, where they drive $133 billion in spending as they enjoy all our nation has to offer.

Big and small, no company will remain fully immune from the effects of executive orders and the related rhetoric that make America seem like a less-welcoming and safe destination. In fact, these orders, together with the rhetoric around countries like China and Mexico, are already hurting our industry and the Americans who hold the jobs we’ve created. That’s not alarmist rhetoric. It’​s a measurable fact.

The numbers

The Global Business Travel Association reports that visits to the U.S. have dropped by 2.2 percent — a figure that feels small but translates to a significant $185 million in lost revenue. And the perception of America is already shifting: For instance, a recent study shows that Chinese consumers’ desire to travel to the U.S. has dropped almost 18 percent. That’s a big deal given that Chinese students and tourists contribute $21 billion annually to our economy, and the number of Chinese tourists alone had previously increased 73 percent in a three-year period.

They’re certainly not the only ones. The so-called Trump Effect is measurable and real. New York City, which embraces a full third of all international tourists visiting the U.S. each year, has now revised its estimate of visitors this year down by 300,000 people. Philadelphia typically hosts an international meeting that draws 3,000 visitors, but this year, attendees will get together in Canada or Mexico instead.

As others have noted, even a one percent decline in international business travelers means the elimination of 70,000 jobs, give or take, and $3 billion in lost wages. Forward Keys observed a 6.5 percent drop in international bookings to the U.S. as compared with the prior year. At Trip.com, we’re seeing data showing international searches for hotels fall seven to 10 percent year-over-year, not just from majority-Muslim countries, but from countries as diverse as the UK, Germany, Australia and Brazil, which are traditionally some of America’s largest tourism spenders.

And then there are the stories.

High-profile visitors to the U.S., including noted Australian children’s author Mem Fox and French Holocaust scholar Henry Rousso, report feeling shaken after unnecessary detainments at the airport and hostile questioning. Ms. Fox was so disturbed by her treatment that she plans on never returning to the United States — and she’s a Caucasian woman whose skin color almost assuredly resulted in comparatively better treatment.

Even Muhammed Ali’s son, a U.S. citizen, wasn’t exempt, most recently being challenged when he was flying within the United States. And, of course, these are people with relative clout. Many visitors, green card holders, refugees and asylum-seekers do not have the good fortune of a recognizable name or noteworthy occupation, and were inconvenienced, threatened, humiliated and otherwise made to feel extraordinarily unwelcome in our country.

For the travel industry, each story travels back home, where people tell their friends, their friends tell others, and together, these stories dissuade travelers from planning their trips to the U.S.

This is unacceptable.

Stoking Fear

Our businesses are predicated on the idea of openness, curiosity, discovery, and enjoyment of other places and people. It’s a winning formula that’s produced high economic returns and steady employment for millions of U.S. citizens for decades.

In contrast, the administration’s positions are stoking fear, promoting isolationism, ceding our high ground as a moral leader, and are taking jobs away from hard-working Americans.

And for what purpose? Political theater designed to make some minority of citizens feel safer, even as experts note that no Americans have been killed by immigrants from any of the countries named in the immigration order in the last decade.

This economy can’t support another crippled industry. This president can’t afford to implement policies that put Americans out of work — and Americans can’t afford to be out of work.

So, to our politicians, we must ask: What is your true priority, American jobs or politics?

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