Donald Trump’s America facing unique travel challenges

That is the contention of Hawaii Attorney-General Doug Chin.

What’s different about ban 2.0?

Donald Trump has signed a new US travel ban, the key difference being Iraq is no longer on the list — but what else is different from the first executive order?

Hawaii became the first state to challenge the US President’s revised travel ban and a hearing is scheduled for next week.

The new executive order prohibits foreign nationals of six predominantly Muslim nations from entering the US for 90 days.

Among the changes from the first order, travellers from Iraq are no longer banned. Neither are those who have visas or hold a US Green Card.

The executive order is slated to take effect on March 16 and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says, “President Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe”.

The state of Hawaii begs to differ: “This second executive order is infected with the same legal problems as the first Order — undermining bedrock constitutional and statutory guarantees.”

Mr Trump’s first ban sparked chaos and protests at airports across the country.

Demonstrators gather outside Los Angeles International Airport holding posters and megaphonesPHOTO: Huge crowds gathered at LAX to protest Donald Trump’s travel first ban. (AP: Ryan Kang)

As the legal skirmish for the revised order gets underway, it seems those from banned countries are not the only ones who may give the US a miss in coming months.

Several Australians have told me they have put their US travel plans on hold. And Australians are not the only ones.

Travel analyst ForwardKeys, a company that predicts travel patterns, says the travel ban has hurt bookings.

“Travel to the USA suffers 6.5 per cent Trump slump,” proclaims the company’s website.

Mem Fox gets a US apology

Australian children’s author Mem Fox doubts she will visit the US again after she was wrongly detained by immigration officials.

Of course, millions will still visit the US, but the changes seem to have made entering the country just that bit harder.

When I arrived in the US at the end of February, I was reminded international travel sometimes ranks up there with root canal surgery as a painful exercise.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), had lengthy queues of passengers winding their way through customs.

I exited with a sigh of relief — only to discover the lines for connecting flights.

“Holy Mother of God,” breathed an Australian next to me. “Another queue.”

I had the benefit of travelling on a US passport, but it was still tough.

Travel crackdown could hurt Americans the most

A few days later, in tourist mecca New York, I found signature stores in Manhattan decked out in red, white and blue. Freedom Tower downtown shimmered in the sun. The city was at its vibrant, sassy, bossy best.

But the Big Apple is bracing for the economic impact of fewer foreign visitors. Tourism agency NYC & Company forecasts 300,000 fewer international visitors than in 2016 — the first drop in seven years.

Predicting the rise or fall of Trump

The markets can be “read like tea leaves” to predict how long President Trump may last in the top job, writes David Taylor.

The US Travel Association last week chimed in, saying the President’s immigration policies are hurting tourism.

The White House disputed this. But an estimated 18 million Americans work in industries connected to tourism.

While the President has taken credit for returning thousands of manufacturing jobs to the US at companies such as Carrier, a major tourism downturn could cost the US economy billions of dollars and wipe out tens of thousands of jobs. There is growing alarm.

As the latest travel ban was debated, it was perhaps ironic that a crackdown by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) indicated it might be Americans, rather than foreigners, who are the biggest risk.

As I hopscotched between airports, I noticed overall airport security was more vigilant than usual. The random “pat-down” I received at Denver International Airport was more robust than I had remembered.

I was experiencing first-hand (so to speak) the TSA’s new standardised pat-down procedures. The new protocol is more thorough and includes “sensitive” areas.

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