Middle East passengers to the US 'down 20 percent'
The number of people travelling from the Middle East to the US has dropped by 20 percent as a US travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries resulted in a loss of travellers globally, Marriott CEO said at a press conference in Dubai.
"The travel bans are not good, period," Arne Sorenson said at the St Regis hotel, according to Arabian Business.
"We do believe that travel to the United States out of the Middle East is down in excess of 20 percent and we think travel to the US from Mexico is down between 10-20 percent," he explained.
"That's not surprising; those are the markets where the political noise in the US is the most audible."
US President Donald Trump first attempted to introduce the controversial travel ban in January, until it was slapped down by the judiciary.
The Trump administration is appealing against the decision of a US federal judge to freeze a revised travel ban, which had been due to come into effect last month.
Last month, the US imposed further restrictions, banning passengers on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in eight countries from carrying on board laptop computers, tablets and other electronic devices larger than mobile phones.
The affected airports are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Britain followed with a similar ban.
The move, which forces passengers to put their devices into checked baggage, came as counter-terror officials developed concerns that extremist groups were devising bombs disguised as batteries in consumer electronics.
The most affected airlines, including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, are lending laptops to Business and First class passengers - typically the classes in which businesspeople travel - to help mitigate the disruption.
Sorenson said it was too early to make a precise assessment of the impact but he expected it to hit leisure travellers.
"Our anticipation is that the travel bans are likely to have a more profound impact on discretionary travel than on business travel," he said.
"Discretionary leisure travel tends to be more seasonal, it also tends to have a longer booking window, and so we're going to need to have a few months before we really can assess how profound the impact is".
The US ban on laptops and electronic devices onboard is currently expected to last until 14 October.