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Searches for flights to America drop 25% over last week

MEDIA STATEMENT – 10/11/16

Cheapflights Comments on US Election Results and Impact on Travel Trends

As one of the most controversial and heated election campaigns concludes, Cheapflights reveals that searches for flights to America dropped dramatically over the last week – down 25.3 per cent – as the uncertainty of the election caused some Kiwis to rethink travel plans.

Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said there has been a 55.7 per cent downturn in overall searches when compared to just a few months ago. Despite this trend, however, there are clear spikes in searches that correlate to election campaign milestones.

“Cheapflights data shows that in the week after both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were nominated by their respective parties, there was a distinct increase in flight searches to the US, up 13.75 per cent from the week prior. Following the first debate there was another (21.3 per cent) increase.”

“Similarly, searches for travel down under from the US lifted over the same periods (11.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent respectively).”

As to the impact of the final result on travel trends, Graham said: “It’s too early to say what the long term effect on travel to the USA will be following this morning’s news – there are a lot of variables in play. Like the rest of the world, the majority of Kiwis are stunned at the results. Time will tell the full impact on outbound and inbound travel with the US. While there are always market fluctuations with an incumbent leaving office, this extremely close election appears to have increased volatility. Economic forecasters across the globe are predicting a real mix of possible outcomes when the market does inevitably react – but the key takeaway for Kiwi travellers is to jump onto a good deal when they see it, as who knows how long it will last!”

“With Donald Trump now elected President, we can already see the dollar improving against the greenback. This is good news for Kiwis heading over to the USA over the next few months, and could give travellers as much as 20 per cent extra bang for their buck.

“On the flip side however, this cheaper exchange rate will likely increase demand and raise the cost of airfares and hotel bookings.”

UK statement:

Andrew Shelton, Managing Director of global flight search and travel deals website, Cheapflights.co.uk said:

“It’s too early to say what the long term effect on travel to the USA will be following this morning’s news – there are a lot of variables in play. We know that the USA is perennially the most popular long haul destination for British holidaymakers, with New York being the most searched-for city in the world. But since campaigning started in earnest, we’ve seen a steady decline in preference for it as a destination, which reached 52% in the final week compared to earlier this year, and the reality of a Trump White House may drive further uncertainty. It could mean Brits delay booking their Stateside holidays until the dust settles or even consider switching to an alternative destination, such as Canada.

“Overnight, searches for one-way flights from the US to Canada increased by 133% compared to a month ago.

US Travel Search statistics:

As of 6:00 p.m. ET on Election Day, there were more than double the searches (up 133%) on Cheapflights.com for one-way flights to Canada than we've seen, on average, in same time frame across the last four Tuesdays.

As polls closed and results start to roll in, the searches accelerated. Between 6:00 p.m. ET and midnight, the jump was over 900% compared to the average for the same time frame across the last four Tuesdays.

And the search volume continued into this morning. Searches from 6:00 p.m. ET until 8:00 ET this morning were up over 1000% over the average volume in the same window over the last four weeks.

Other spots the had one-way flight search spikes overnight are Japan, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany, which all jumped up over 500% between midnight and 8:00 a.m. ET compared to the last four weeks.


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