Initial Effects of the Travel Ban on International Travel to the US - Hopper Research

Initial Effects of the Travel Ban on International Travel to the US

Patrick
By Patrick Surry
Posted Feb 7, 2017

We analyzed flight search demand from international origins to the US prior and after Trump's inauguration to look for early indications of the impact of Trump's presidency on travel. We're comparing the daily flight search numbers after the inauguration to the average of the two weeks before Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United Sates.

  • Flight search demand from international origins to the US has dropped 17% overall since Trump's inauguration, and the implementation of the travel ban, compared to the final weeks of the Obama presidency.
  • Flight search demand to the US has fallen in 94 of 122 origin countries where we have significant data.
  • A notable exception is Russia where flight search demand to the US is up a whopping 88%.
  • Weekly search demand for flights to the US is down 33% from countries included in the travel ban
  • International demand is down for all major US destinations, though east coast destinations have fared better than average with New York and Boston suffering least. San Francisco and Las Vegas have seen the largest declines in search interest.
  • We have seen little impact on pricing so far, but the airfare market typically takes weeks rather than days to react
  • Last year, we saw only a 1.8% decline for the comparable time period which suggests the change is not a simple seasonal effect

Figure 1: Daily variation in flight search from international origins to the US, adjusted for day-of-week seasonality.

As you can see in the graph above, demand varied within about a 5% band until the Wednesday after the Inauguration (Jan 25th), bottoming out on the Saturday after the Executive Order announcing the travel ban. Demand has recovered slightly since then but it is still significantly below expected levels.


Figure 2: Change in search demand for flights to the US from other countries



Figure 3: Changes in international search demand for flights to US destinations


Figure 4: Weekly average searches to the US from countries on the banned list (top), and several other countries that some have argued would have made more sense to ban (bottom). We receive no data for Yemen, and very little for Somalia, Syria and Libya.

Weekly average searches to US by origin country group


Table 1: Banned is Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen*, Sudan (Hopper has no flight data for Yemen). Skipped is Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar, UAE, Azerbaijan.


Click here to see the Hopper's full analysis by country and destination city

Methodology

The data utilized for this study comes from Hopper's real-time "shadow traffic" containing the results of consumer airfare searches. Hopper collects, from several Global Distribution System partners, ten to fifteen billion airfare price quotes every day from searches happening all across the web.

We analyzed flight search demand (flight search queries) for flights to the US originating in 122 countries where we have significant data coverage, starting three weeks prior to Trump's inauguration to look for early indications of the impact of Trump's travel policies.