The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 15

"Based on the current status of U.S. border and travel restrictions, the TDSB is continuing not to
approve any new trips to the United States. This is not a permanent decision. We will continue to
actively monitor the situation and review all relevant information as it becomes available in the
coming weeks and months."
Ryan Bird, Toronto District School Board
a spokesman for the board, was also
quoted in numerous outlets as saying,
"We just can't have trips going across the
border and a student for no legitimate
reason being denied entry to the U.S.
We're obviously not going to leave that
student and continue on."
However, for all the analysis regarding
the travel ban, Canadian tour companies
found themselves navigating very
dissimilar scenarios as illustrated in this
tale of two operators.
Sue LeClair of Shoreline Tours, based
in Leamington, Ontario, and specializing
in educational student travel, felt the
impact was minimal. In discussions as
to how the ban impacted her company,
she shared: "Though we did lose five
buses scheduled to travel to New York
City (groups who were excited about
plans to travel to NYC weren't interested
in switching to other Canadian cities),
overall we didn't find the travel ban to be
a major problem.
"Given that the current protocol
doesn't allow a school to offer a trip
unless all eligible students are able to go
on it, the Windsor-Essex County School
Board did cancel travel to the U.S.,
except in instances where it had already
been approved, but given that we were
told in early February about this decision,
we had lead time and we managed it."
Diane Diebel, vice president of
Hanover Holidays, an operator
based in Hanover, Ontario, has a
different take: "As an operator, we
have definitely felt the impact from
President Trump.  Many of our clients
have expressed disappointment over
the policies and actions of the current
U.S. administration, some going so far
as to say they have no plans to even try
to travel to the U.S. for the next four
years.  I think there has been a lot of
confusion and misconceptions on some
aspects of the travel ban as well. The
daily news reports regarding changes,
some conflicting, have certainly not

helped the situation. While we continue
to offer U.S. travel destinations, we have
definitely scaled back tour offerings."
LeClair speculates that part of the
reason the travel ban was less onerous
for her company was due to its proximity
to the border. "Border and non-border
communities have different mindsets.
People who live and work close to a
border are just that much more familiar
because they cross frequently as a matter
of course. We were motivated by the
ban to uncover the opportunity. For
example, we switched school groups
from Detroit to tours to Niagara Falls/
Toronto, which turned out to be an
excellent chance for the teachers
involved to see those centres and
experience how they have developed
since they went last."
Likewise, Deibel notes, "Instead of our
normal tours to the U.S., we planned
many new tour itineraries in Canada
for 2017 and had great success in selling
out many of these trips.  There is a
definite advantage for Canadian tourism
product right now to raise their level of
awareness with the Canadian traveller
and increase their business.  In our own
marketing efforts, we have definitely
highlighted our Canadian destinations to
continue to encourage people to travel."
As of press time, the only thing
certain about the travel ban is that
it is creating uncertainty. Ryan Bird,
manager of corporate and social media
relations at the Toronto District School
Board, commented, "Based on the
current status of U.S. border and travel
restrictions, the TDSB is continuing
not to approve any new trips to the
United States. This is not a permanent
decision. We will continue to actively
monitor the situation and review all
relevant information as it becomes
available in the coming weeks and
months." However, on the flip side,
LeClair shared that the Essex Catholic
School Board subsequently began

allowing trips to U.S. destinations again
and that they have already booked a
school group with plans to do so.
While there is no way to predict
the impact of the travel ban or how
it will ultimately look until the Court
has its say, for the tourism industry the
reveal of the travel ban is a lesson it has
learned before. When uncertainty is
married with a lack of clarity regarding
an adverse event, the travelling public
reveals itself to be extremely risk-averse.
Whether their travel plans call for
business or pleasure, no one wants to be
mired in an uncertain situation when
far from home. And be it an operator
or a supplier, it isn't usually within the
realm of the possible to control how a
challenging event unfolds, so all the
industry can do is control its response.
Companies need to be honest with
their clients and as responsive as the
situation permits. React as quickly
as possible as facts driving an event
or legislation become known. In the
age of social media, clients know
when you know. If at all feasible, map
out a strategy for multiple scenarios
in advance so that you can react
accordingly as conditions change or the
narrative becomes more clear. Speed is
of the essence. On that note, it pays to
have a crisis management plan in place
and be prepared to activate it.
Naturally, as always, the focus should
be on customer service and satisfaction.
Being flexible when facing the unknown
is the key. Seek out and propose
comparable alternatives for clients with
concerns. While it may be that the
school group that has been fund-raising
all year to travel to, say, the Big Apple
will accept no substitutes, for the most
part (and this was the case as it relates to
the travel ban) there can be opportunity.
Operators have reported that the
travel ban has been a great chance to
introduce, or even reacquaint, groups
with Canadian offerings.
■

Read The Road Explorer online at www.naylornetwork.com/omc-nxt


http://www.naylornetwork.com/omc-nxt

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Fall 2017

Industry Voice
Issues Update
Regulatory Update
Industry Controls Its Response to U.S. Travel Ban
Will Competition From Airbnb Disrupt the Travel Industry? It Depends on Who You Ask
OMCA’s 2017 Golf Tournament
Badder Bus Operations
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Travel Highlights Marketplace
Classifieds
Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Intro
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - bellyband1
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - bellyband2
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - cover1
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - cover2
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 3
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 4
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 5
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 6
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Industry Voice
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Issues Update
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 9
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 10
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 11
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 12
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Regulatory Update
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Industry Controls Its Response to U.S. Travel Ban
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 15
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Will Competition From Airbnb Disrupt the Travel Industry? It Depends on Who You Ask
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 17
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 18
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 19
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 20
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 21
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - OMCA’s 2017 Golf Tournament
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 23
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 24
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Badder Bus Operations
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 26
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 27
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 28
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 29
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 30
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 32
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Travel Highlights Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 34
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Classifieds
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 36
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 38
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - cover3
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - cover4
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - outsert1
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - outsert2
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - outsert3
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - outsert4
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - outsert5
The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - outsert6
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