Ticket purchases for flights to the U.S. from the seven Muslim-majority
countries that President Trump included in his now enjoined 90-day travel ban
actually rose year-over-year in the week after the ban was announced, ARC said
In fact, according to ARC's analysis of tickets bought
through travel agencies, there were more combined purchases for flights from
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria to the U.S. during the week
of Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 than there had been during the same period in any of the
three previous years.
Trump enacted the ban, which applied to nationals of the
seven countries, on Jan. 27. A federal district court in Washington state
issued an injunction staying the ban a week later. The 9th Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco upheld that ruling on Feb. 9.
ARC's findings run contrary to the conclusions early last
week of ForwardKeys. In its own analysis of flight reservation transactions,
the travel data company found that net bookings from the seven travel ban
countries were down 80% between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4.
Chuck Thackston, ARC's managing director of enterprise
information, said that he could only speculate as to why travel bookings to the
U.S. from the affected countries were higher this year than previous years,
despite the travel ban.
"Diplomats, business travel, those sorts of things, as
well as expats that may be traveling from those countries back to the U.S.,"
he said. Thackston also noted that travel in general is up around the world.
Ticket purchases from the travel ban countries did drop
slightly during the seven days that began Jan. 29 compared to the week before
that, ARC found. But overall, purchases for travel from those countries to the
U.S. were higher than the three previous years during each of the four weeks
that started between Jan. 8 and Jan. 29.
One result of the ARC analysis is less surprising. Refunded
transactions from the affected countries rose 300% in the nine days that followed
the signing of the travel ban.