Nova Scotia

Trump ruffles feathers, sends Canadian snowbirds flying elsewhere

The "Trump Factor" combined with a weak Canadian dollar has some snowbirds changing their vacation plans this year, according to one Halifax travel consultant.

Travel consultant says traditional winter destinations in the U.S. are seeing fewer Canadian vistors

Travel consultant Bob Sime says he won't be surprised if schools, sports teams and youth groups stop travelling to the U.S. (CBC)

The "Trump Factor" combined with a weak Canadian dollar has some snowbirds changing their vacation plans this year, according to one Halifax travel consultant. 

"Certainly what I hear from the hoteliers and the car rental companies, and so forth, that in the traditional snowbird destinations, the winter destinations for Canada, is that you've got about a 13 per cent to a 15 per cent drop in figures to date," Bob Sime said in an interview Tuesday.

Sime said many Canadian travellers are concerned about how they will be received, not only at the border, but also at their vacation destination. 

"Of course, the big topic or the elephant in the room, as they say, is Trump and whatever he does from a daily basis, depending what he wants to tweet," he said. "There's sensitivity by a lot of the Canadian travellers on what's going to happen next."

Heading elsewhere

But they aren't staying home.

Sime said travellers are doing their research and finding other warm locales where they can get more for their loonies.  

This week, Canada's Girl Guides organization announced it will no longer visit the U.S., citing concerns about remaining inclusive and fears some could get left behind.

Sime said he thinks the Guides are being proactive and cautious.

"And rightly so," he said. "They fundraise for their trips. I wouldn't want to be the leader of the group at the border and have two or three of my group turned back and decide what I am going to do with the rest of them." 

Leave your phone at home

Sime said he expects some other groups, such as hockey teams, Scouts troops and school trips, will follow suit. 

For those who do travel to the U.S., and are concerned about border agents searching their phones, Sime has some advice. He suggests leaving the phone home or deleting the apps before crossing the border.

Another alternative, he said, is to buy a disposable phone with a two-week or month-long package.

"I've always gone on the basis of if you've got something to hide, you should leave it at home," he said. "There's nothing on my phone, other than a lot of pictures of my kids."

About the Author

After spending more than a decade as a reporter covering the Nova Scotia legislature, Amy Smith joined CBC News in 2009 as host for CBC Nova Scotia News as well as Atlantic Tonight at 11. She can be reached at amy.smith@cbc.ca or on Twitter @amysmithcbc