Like Ottawa’s first announcement of a phased approach to the re-opening of Canada’s borders, the second announcement on Monday was focused on easing restrictions for vaccinated people to enter Canada.
For Canadians hoping to travel outside of the country, a Level 3 advisory against non-essential travel outside the country remains in effect.
So how much impact Monday’s announcement has depends on whether you’re in the outbound or inbound travel business.
And even local tourism operators see the concessions as a good step, but not enough to recover. Some tourism businesses in the hugely popular Calgary/ Banff area, for example, say it’s already “too late to salvage the summer.”
Open Jaw asked industry leaders for their reactions to Monday’s news:
No “meaningful restart”
– Brett Walker, Chair, CATO
“From a CATO perspective this is a very positive first step however a level three advisory against non-essential travel for Canadians is a major deterrent for international travel. The government has not made known any comprehensive plan for when Canadians may expect to travel. There is some greater clarity on when US and other fully vaccinated foreign nationals can come to Canada for discretionary (non-essential) purposes but Canadians are still advised by our government to only to travel for essential purposes.
Without any government plan for reopening the border for outbound travel, there will not be any meaningful restart and recovery until well into 2022. This is why CATO continues to lobby the federal government for more support throughout this year and possibly into next. Specifically, we are asking for an extension of CEWS, or by any other name, based on Period 16 levels. It’s been said many times but worth repeating that our members, were among the first to be hit and will be among the last to recover.”
“Still an advisory to “avoid all travel outside Canada”
– Wendy Paradis, ACTA president
“ACTA is very encouraged by the news today about fully vaccinated Americans being allowed into Canada as of Aug. 9 and fully vaccinated international travelers in September. We are also very glad to see that the quarantine requirements for children under 12 will be eased.
It is especially encouraging to finally see that border restrictions are being eased for “non essential” travel. This has been long-awaited and is a great step forward!
“Of particular importance to ACTA members will be the easing of travel restrictions for Canadians. Currently there is still a travel advisory to “avoid all travel outside Canada.” ACTA has strongly advocated that this should be modified and we hope that this follows in short order in alignment with today’s announcements. ACTA will be following up with the government and advocating for this.”
“Forging our way back”
– Jeff Element, President, The Travel Corporation Canada
“This is an amazing step forward for our industry and particularly those of us who operate in-bound local trips. It was great to see consideration was even given to families travelling with children under 12. Equally important is the removal of the hotel quarantine requirement, which we believe was a key factor in Canadians’ decisions to refrain from making any travel plans.
“We are forging our way back to conditions that will allow us to rebuild our severely battered industry and put hardworking and dedicated Canadian colleagues back to work into the travel industry jobs they love.”
Hoping for “reciprocal openings” by the U.S.
– Stéphanie Bishop, Managing Director of the Globus family of brands
“Any step that invites and encourages travel and tourism to resume is a step in the right direction. We’re thrilled to be in a position to invite fully vaccinated American travellers back to Canada and we’ve unveiled a series of new tours and touring styles – including Choice Touring by Globus – to help them experience more of what makes our country so special this fall. August 9th will be a great day for the Canadian tourism industry.
“We hope this week’s announcement encourages reciprocal openings, with the U.S. opening the border for Canadian travellers driven by wanderlust. We’ve been respectful of government guidelines, diligent and cautious throughout the pandemic. Canadian travellers now have an opportunity to take action, plan their long-awaited trips and look forward to experiencing world cultures once again.”
Level 3 risk advisory “huge barrier to resuming outbound operations”
– Brett Walker, GM, Collette Canada
“This is welcome news and we are certainly moving in the right direction. However, the need for a quarantine plan for fully eligible travellers is somewhat concerning? I would like to have more clarity on that – namely why? Since the ArrivCAN app hasn’t been updated or otherwise does not account for arrivals after 07AUG, 2021 it’s unclear the extent of information and/or details leisure travellers will need to provide as part of a quarantine plan. For fully eligible travellers this requirement could serve as a deterrent if not a barrier.
“Beyond this announcement the government of Canada still maintains a level 3 risk and advisory against non-essential travel outside of Canada. This is obviously a huge barrier to resuming outbound operations.
“We need the government to make clear to all Canadians when they might expect to travel again and what the criteria is for any restart and recovery for our industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on the ebb and flow of tourists into Canada and out.”