by Loren Edelstein | March 01, 2017
Here are some extra questions and responses from this month's Research column on "Facing Tighter Borders."

In what other ways has your organization been affected by the president's executive order on immigration and refugees?

• Uncertainty has been created, never good with long-range meeting planning for associations. What destinations can we no longer consider? Should we only meet in countries with Trump hotels?
• Travelers from other countries who are afraid to get stuck or be refused entry [could] choose not to attend our conference.
• This ban on the Muslim religion is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional and not what this country is all about.
• HAPPY travelers because my clients believe they are now SAFER coming here due to ban!!!!!
• Travelers are also boycotting meetings we have in the USA.
• We are a border community, and while not specifically aimed at border nations, the effect has been very damaging to business.
• We have canceled one program and may cancel others.
• Travelers from other countries with green cards are being advised from those countries not to travel because of early cancellation of green cards in those countries, i.e., Jamaica.
• This ban could restrict or cause problems for attendees  who are Muslim to attend our annual summit in September.
• The perception of the USA as a meeting destination is bad.
• Students who attend our university/program will be unable to have family attend their graduation and will themselves be unable to leave the country if they are not graduating and intending to complete their degree at our institution.
• We have people voluntarily not attending meetings being held in the U.S. during the ban in support of these nations.

In what other ways will the current political climate influence your site-selection decisions for future meetings?

• I will hold meetings in U.S. states that are friendly to international visitors.
• Will do more in the USA, however, will mean fewer foreign attendees...Generally the quality of the audiences will decline because fewer diverse views will be present due to inability of attendees from a growing number of countries to attend. Where will it stop?
• We will be more selective of the countries we choose to travel for hosting our international conferences.
• Some of our internal incentive programs may have to remain in the U.S. instead of going abroad.
• No meetings in Trump properties or properties supporting the current administration's policies.
• The political climate of ANY location U.S. or abroad is always looked at when selecting sites for meetings. The current political climate in the U.S. is just another thing to consider, same as for any country I view for meeting potential.
• I will recommend that more meetings take place in North America.
• I will hold overseas meetings in countries that prove their loyalty to the U.S. and our President Trump, who will keep us safe. I did not answer one previous question (#4 ) because it is not accurate. My clients do NOT boycott us, and I have NO concerns about any meeting problems. We are scheduled for the whole year. Most important is keeping our country SAFE, and that means going back to LEGAL immigration!! Look at the devastation in Germany and Sweden with the illegals! We will no longer go THERE!
• Travel is getting more complicated and adding risk to everything. Moving more collaboration online is the best way to mitigate it at the moment.
• Will research each proposed location
• I am producing an annual conference in May for an alliance of water conservation organizations that has received a sizable grant from the EPA each year going back a decade, specifically to support this conference. The new EPA director has decided that not only will the grants be frozen this year, but all of the EPA professionals slated to speak and present at the event must withdraw their registration! So now, in addition to trying to come up with an additional $50k we were expecting, we have to shuffle around plenary panelists and workshop sessions/topics as well, after the event program has been published for a month. This event also happens to be held at an Amway property (owned by the DeVos family), and as soon as her nomination was made public we received several concerns from attendees asking us to move the event. Explaining that the contract and planning has been in process for a few years did not satisfy them, and a few have canceled their reservations in our group block. Only one cancellation because of this at the moment, but it's been a very unpleasant complication!
• Be more selective in which countries to hold meetings, but because of security concerns, we are already doing this.
• More "virtual" meetings
• We will hold fewer meetings overall.
• The current political climate and how it filters down to states' individual laws will help determine our location (we only meet in the U.S.). For example, we will not be meeting in North Carolina until HB2 is repealed, and if there are state-based laws discriminating against immigrants or refugees, that will affect our decision-making.
• We will likely hold more meetings outside the U.S. if the ban becomes a larger issue.
• I will select my destinations more carefully.
• Will have to consider locations people travel from prior to deciding on a location.