At the C&IT Awards last month, New York was crowned winner of the Best Mid- to Long-haul Event Destination category, with Las Vegas and LA also making the top five shortlist. Meanwhile, the Incentive Programme of the Year went to Zibrant for AstaZeneca Academy, which was held in Boston.
The US is one of the most diverse and dynamic C&I destinations on the planet. So it’s no surprise that during the past few years as long-haul incentive budgets have bounced back, there has been a sharp rise in the popularity of cities such as Miami, New York, Boston and San Francisco among UK corporate companies.
But with the US election looming next month, and the outcome looking too close to call, what would a Trump win mean for US tourism, and particularly inbound meetings and events business?
When the tycoon first announced his presidential candidacy, it was widely dismissed as a bit of a joke. But after comfortably securing the Republican nomination, polls have shown him close in on Hillary Clinton’s lead in recent weeks and there is a serious chance he could make it all the way to the White House.
If the unthinkable does happen, it’s likely to have an immediate impact on tourism and business travel to the US. Firstly, the current global uncertainty caused by Brexit and the upcoming US election, will be exacerbated. Nobody really knows what will happen if Trump does win – so budgets for meetings and incentives that are on hold, are likely to be postponed further, or cancelled as uncertainty grows.
More worrying are Trump’s outspoken views on immigration and threat to ban muslims from travelling to the US.
US tourism suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 and millions of dollars have been spent on initiatives such as Brand USA during the past few years to position the US as a welcoming destination. Back on this side of the Atlantic, several US convention bureaux have invested in local representatives that have done a great job of increasing awareness of the destinations among UK event planners.
The benefits of these initiatives could be undone if Trump gets into power. Some leisure travel and tour companies are already predicting that a Trump win could result in a drop in international visitors put off by his controversial views. Likewise, several UK event planners have said that Trump as president would definitely put them off travelling to the US.
Of course, Trump’s not there yet but how close will this election be ? As the UK referendum result showed, the polls don’t always get it right.
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