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UNWTO, WTTC: Trump’s Immigration Ban Goes Against Freedom of Travel

US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump.

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Tuesday expressed concern over the recently announced travel ban by the United States of America to nationals of seven countries.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration Friday to keep refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven mainly-Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days.

Both UNWTO and WTTC emphasise that the ban goes directly against the fundamental right of freedom of travel.

UNWTO: Don’t build new walls

“The travel ban, based on nationality, is contrary to the principles of freedom of travel and travel facilitation promoted by the international tourism community and will hinder the immense benefits of the tourism sector brings in terms of economic growth and job creation to many countries, including the USA”, the UNWTO, the United Nations specialized agency for tourism, said in a statement.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, said that “global challenges demand global solutions” and added that today’s security challenges “should not prompt us to build new walls; on the contrary, isolationism and blind discriminatory actions will not lead to increased security but rather to growing tensions and threats”.

Rifai added that the image of a country that imposes travel bans “in such a hostile way” will surely be affected among visitors from all over the world and travel demand to the US may drop.

WTTC: Such a travel ban is wrong

On its part, the WTTC said that the travel ban has created immense confusion among travellers and travel companies worldwide.

“WTTC believes that all people have the right to cross international borders safely and efficiently for business and tourism purposes… Suspending travel based only on a person’s nationality or their origin is wrong”, the council’s president and CEO, David Scowsill, said.

The WTTC said that many travellers have been unnecessarily disrupted, due to the unclear nature of the executive order, coupled with a lack of prior consultation and poor communication to airlines and border officials.

“If this move by the Trump Administration is designed to ‘prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals’, it is important to point out that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the recent past have been perpetrated by home grown, radicalised nationals of the country involved”, Scowsill underlined, adding that none of the shocking domestic incidents in the US since 2001 have been attributed to external terrorists who have specifically flown into the country to commit an atrocity.

“Preventing ‘aliens’ from entering the US for legitimate business or leisure purposes is misguided and counter-productive for the American economy”, he said and urged the Trump Administration to reconsider the ban.

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