TORONTO — The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is renewing calls to reopen the Canada-U.S. border with a new campaign that urges Canadian decision-makers to commit to a reopening plan.
Bearing the hashtag #OpenTheBorder, the campaign comes on the heels of last month’s report by the federal government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, which included a number of recommendations such as phased-in border changes and the end to Canada’s hotel quarantine. The full report can be read here.
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to all but essential traffic since March 21, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Medical experts are telling us that we are winning the battle with COVID. With vaccinations rising and case numbers going down, we must now pivot to more forward-thinking policies, and talk about safely reopening the border, ending the extreme financial crush that has flattened the tourism industry and devastated the tourism economy in Canada. As Canada and the U.S. return to normal, we must prepare to open the border quickly and safely, and restart our tourism economy,” stated Beth Potter, President and CEO of TIAC.
She added: “The land border closure was a blunt interment to help stop the pandemic, but the fact that people can fly to the U.S. to vacation without quarantining there, but a very limited number of essential workers can cross the border never made sense. At the same time, the government is talking about ending crucial financial relief programs that have kept tourism businesses afloat during this entire ordeal. It can’t be both ways; either continue to support tourism businesses through programs like CEWS and CERS, or start reopening the border so that businesses can get back to work.
“There is a lack of urgency on the Canadian side for planning for the inevitable reopening of the border, which has been out-of-step with U.S. officials and the Biden administration. President Biden formally asked for a border reopening plan immediately after taking office, and so far, Canada has been slow to make any public progress.”
To officially launch the new campaign, TIAC hosted an in-person event this morning, June 8, at Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada with representatives from Provincial and Territorial Tourism Industry Associations, all of whom will call on the federal government to commit to a plan to reopen borders “before another summer season is lost,” says TIAC.
Look for Travelweek’s full coverage from this morning’s launch in tomorrow’s Travelweek Daily.
Last month, TIAC launched Tourism Week in Canada by asking all Canadians to take the 2021 Tourism Pledge to travel within Canada this year. Throughout the week, the organization, along with Destination Canada, highlighted regions across the country and shared stories about the impact tourism has on local communities.
TIAC will be hosting a number of Parliamentary and Congressional panels in the coming weeks to discuss border reopening. Visit www.openuscanborder.ca to learn more.