OTTAWA — The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable says it’s encouraged that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have received the full dose of a vaccine – or a combination of vaccines – are now eligible to cross the Canadian border without quarantine.
But while the Aug. 9 reopening to American visitors is an important milestone, “it is only the first step in the long process of rebuilding an industry devastated by COVID-19 restrictions,” says the Roundtable.
The group is calling on the federal government to take a leadership role on the following initiatives:
- A commitment to Canadians that government will stay on course towards a well-managed and safe reopening.
- The immediate development of a universally recognized digital vaccine certification program
- Ongoing diplomatic efforts to guarantee the free passage for Canadians to countries with exclusionary programs such as the UK and the U.S., and the international recognition of all vaccines approved by Health Canada, including AstraZeneca
- Continue to work in partnership with the travel and tourism industry and the provincial governments to reassure Canadians that the extraordinary efforts being made by the sector means that travel within Canada remains safe
In its statement, issued yesterday as the border reopened to fully vaccinated U.S. travellers, the Roundtable notes that these initiatives are time sensitive and should not be delayed by a potential federal election.
Says Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: “Today marks the first step in a massive rebuilding of the Canadian travel and tourism sector. The travel industry is not like a light switch that can simply be turned on and off. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism sector. Notwithstanding today’s news, significant barriers continue to keep tourists away and businesses shuttered. We need all governments to stay on course towards a well-managed and safe reopening of our economy.”
Beth Potter, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), adds: “The Canadian travel and tourism industry has essentially lost two summer travel seasons in a row. It’s now mid-August and we are only seeing a partial re-opening of the border. By September when Canada is expected to open its borders to the rest of the world, the summer travel season will have ended.”
Potter notes that for the Canadian tourism industry, “one summer’s day has the same economic value has an entire week in the winter. We encourage the government to make travel easy by introducing one vaccine passport for Canadians, and to communicate to Canadians that is safe and feasible to travel.”