Canadian Girls Group Cancels Trips to U.S.

In light of the U.S. travel ban, the Girl Guides of Canada announced that it would not approve any new trips to the United States. The group’s reaction actualizes a fear that some associations have had about the ban.

After the Trump administration released its edited travel ban in early March, the Girl Guides of Canada, a group comparable to Girl Scouts of the USA, announced that it will no longer make trips to the U.S.

Under “Travel Ban 2.0,” citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen may not be allowed entry into the U.S. on a temporary basis. Citizens of those countries that are living elsewhere—including Canada—are also affected by the immigration order.

“Our goal as an inclusive organization is to make sure that each and every one of our members can equally access the programs we offer, including all of our travel destinations,” said a statement posted on the Girl Guides website. “Our operational decision to limit U.S. travel at this time was a difficult one to make, but one based solely on ensuring all girls and women in Guiding can fully participate in our Guiding trips, no matter the destination.”

To that end, the Guides have cancelled a summer trip to California, and they will refrain from booking further trips to the U.S.—even avoiding connecting flights through the country.

“This decision was not made lightly,” the statement read. “Travel is a unique part of the Girl Guide program and girls spend well over a year leading the planning and fundraising for their travel experiences. Our primary goal was to reduce the risk of our members encountering difficulties at the border and ensuring that no girl is left behind.”

In a Huffington Post article, Girl Guides Spokeswoman Sarah Kiriliuk said the organization will re-evaluate its policies on U.S. travel when there is certainty that all of its members can cross the border. “This is not a political decision,” she said. “This is about delivering an inclusive and diverse program to our girls.”

Kiriliuk also told that publication that between 700 and 800 girls travel to the U.S. and various other international locations each year.

The Girl Guides announcement comes alongside stats that show that international airline bookings to the U.S. have dropped, even from countries not on the banned list. According to a recent Global Business Travel Association survey, 38 percent of European business travel professionals said their company’s would be less willing to send business travelers to the U.S. in the future because of the executive order and 45 percent indicated their company will be less willing to plan future meetings and events in the United States.

For associations with international members and conference attendees, these are troubling data points. “We’ve done surveys after terrorism events, when there were high fuel prices, SARS and Ebola outbreaks. This is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Mike McCormick, executive director of the GBTA, to CNN.

(via the Girl Guides Facebook page)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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