Germans Losing Interest in U.S. Vacations Because of Trump, Poll Finds

  • Political concerns raised amid boom in long-haul travel
  • Decline in trips could hurt TUI, Thomas Cook, Lufthansa

Almost half of Germans with an interest in traveling to the U.S. won’t do so now because they feel unwelcome or don’t want to endorse President Donald Trump.

About 46 percent of Germans who would like to visit the U.S. “in principle” have changed their views on that destination since Trump took office and won’t travel there as a result, according to a survey by GfK SE published in travel-industry magazine fvw.

The findings don’t bode well for Europe’s travel industry, as tour operators including TUI AG and Thomas Cook Group Plc are already dealing with the fallout of reduced travel to the Middle East amid concerns about security. Travel operators have been benefiting from a boom in long-haul travel, and the U.S. had become especially popular among Germans, who make up the biggest customer group for both TUI and Thomas Cook.

Transatlantic routes are among the most profitable for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and Air Berlin Plc expanded its long-haul fleet as it increases its flight program to North America. Millions of sun-seekers avoiding destinations in the eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa have been turning to Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Among the Germans polled by GfK, 36 percent said they’d continue to travel to the U.S., as they differentiate between politics and Americans’ warm-heartedness. About 17 percent stated that national politics had no impact on their travel plans. GfK polled 1,004 people in the Germany between Feb. 3 and Feb 10. 

Germans are also more concerned about Trump’s policies than they are about Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a separate poll by FG Wahlen for ZDF television.