Russian Searches for U.S. Flights Spike After Trump: Report

Russian flag
Participants perform during a military parade marking the anniversary of the 1941 parade when Soviet soldiers marched towards the front lines of World War Two, in Red Square in Moscow, Russia November 7, 2016. While interest in travelling to the U.S. falls off across the world, Russia stands out by bucking this trend. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Donald Trump's presidency has dampened foreigners' desire to visit the U.S., according to airfare analytics firm Hopper, with the exception of one group—Russians.

According to Hopper's figures on commercial airline flight searches, interest in flying to the U.S. from abroad has fallen by 17 percent since Trump's January inauguration. His heavily domestic-focused speech at the event and the ensuing attempt to introduce a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, have doubtless had an effect.

However, his unflinchingly positive rhetoric on Russia seems to have rekindled curiosity about the U.S. there, with searches about flights spiking by 88 percent, CNBC reported.

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"I can't speak to what's causing the interest in Russia, but that increase definitely jumped out at us since search demand is down in so many other countries," Patrick Surry, Hopper's chief data strategist, said.

This makes Russians the exception to the rule. Hopper found in the 3.5 billion price and itinerary searches since New Year's Day, 94 out of 122 countries searched for flights to the U.S. less frequently.

"It's hard to know exactly why flight searches to the U.S. have fallen off, but I think the perception is the door is closing and the U.S. is not as welcoming," Surry said.

Quite how these flight search findings relate to actual tickets bought is unclear. Airlines have not yet reported on a reduction of flights or a real drop in passenger numbers; such figures are usually made available at the end of an annual quarter.