Most analysts take for granted that consumers treat travel as a luxury, in terms of both consumption and avoidance patterns. Vacationers can spend their time any number of ways and even business travel can increasingly swap out Facetime for flying. As a result, when conditions make travel (particularly flying) more expensive or increase the perception of risk, consumption declines elastically.
So earlier this year when President Trump began making good on his campaign pledge to issue immigration and travel bans, experts expected this to show up in the form of reduced travel numbers and industry profits. In particular, the uncertainty about border entry led many lawyers to recommend that foreign nationals take care about trying to enter or leave the United States.
However, eight months into the Trump administration, those fears are proving overwrought.
According to research by KeyBanc, in the second quarter of 2017 trends have "pointed to a resurgence in the face of potential Trump policy changes."
"In spite of partial enactment of Trump's travel ban and ongoing security controversies like the potential laptop ban," analysts wrote, "we were most encouraged by the better-than-feared pickup in online travel spending, which rose from the [6% to 7% year-to-year] growth levels it has been at for the past several years to up close to the mid-teens the past two months."
After weak growth in the beginning of the year and predictions that this would continue indefinitely, over May and June online travel agencies have clocked growth even in excess of their gains last summer.