Cash-laden Muslim travelers are thinking twice about where they spend their discretionary income. Although US judicial authorities have affirmed a block on the executive order that banned arrivals from selected Muslim nations, the damage to the US hospitality sector may already be done. The lure of new-era tourism centers, like Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, can easily siphon off cash that would otherwise have been spent crisscrossing America. According to travel app Hopper, US-bound flight searches from parts of the Islamic world are down more than 30% since the executive order was signed. Officials in Southeast Asia and the Middle East are no doubt scrambling for ways in which their local hospitality industries can bounce in response to capricious American behavior, especially given the ummah-wide focus on halal tourism. They may not have to look too hard. Televised images of US airport protests are powerful reminders of the volatile, if not unwelcoming, backdrop. ■
Our Vantage Point: In solidarity with targeted Muslim nations, travelers are likely to rethink US-directed itineraries. That trend matters because the size of the Islamic wallet contributes materially to hospitality-sector revenue.
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Image: Oman is among those Muslim nations investing heavily in tourism. Credit: Meinzahn at Can Stock Photo Inc.