Canada’s slow COVID vaccine rollout is likely to delay recovery of the country’s tourism sector.
Canada currently ranks about 22nd in the world for the number of doses administered, with about eight per cent of the population getting at least one shot, AP reports. That compares with 36 per cent in the U.K, 21 per cent in the U.S. and eight per cent in the EU.
Destination Canada is concerned that Canadians are looking instead to international destinations as their travel restrictions loosen, reports Skift.
While other G7 nations are moving ahead with their vaccination programs, particularly the United States, which is Canada’s biggest tourism competitor, just three in 100 Canadians had received their first dose as of two weeks ago. That compares to 14 in the U.S. and 21 in the United Kingdom. The vaccination delay has political opponents criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau has said that any Canadian who wishes to be vaccinated, would have their shots by September, adding that distribution is accelerating with at least one million Pfizer vaccine doses coming into the country each week from 22MAR to 10MAY.
Destination Canada hopes to encourage Canadians to travel domestically this year and is investing $30 million to help provinces and territories promote local travel.
But the campaign is also about raising awareness on the power of local versus international spend. Data from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, for instance, reveals that 78 per cent of tourism spending in Canada is from Canadians.