PCR Test Requirement Threatens International Travel to QC this Winter: Roundtable

Carnaval de Québec
Photo courtesy of Carnaval de Québec.

The Canadian federal government’s requirement for a negative COVID-19 PCR test result for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada is threatening the return of international visitors to Quebec, said the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable (“The Roundtable”) joined by business leaders operating in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries in the province.

Together, the group is calling for the removal of the mandatory pre-departure PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in Quebec, as well as those returning, regardless of how long they have been outside of the country.

“International visitors have significant positive knock-on effects for the broader Quebec economy. Without international visitors the survival of local events and businesses is being threatened,” The Roundtable said in a statement.

While the government recently announced that fully vaccinated Canadians are exempt from the PCR test requirement to return home so long as their trip has been less than 72 hours, The Roundtable says that this change “does nothing” to help Quebec businesses.

“In fact, these changes opened a one-way door allowing Canadians to leave the country, while disincentivizing international visitors from coming here,” the group said.

The Roundtable highlights that the PCR test requirement runs against the recommendations made by the Canadian federal government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, and that travel measures should be based on a travellers vaccination status.

“The Canadian government’s mandatory pre-departure PCR test to enter the country leads international travellers to do business elsewhere and hurts international tourism and our local economy,” The Roundtable said in a statement.

According to the group, Quebec’s tourism industry supports “402,000 jobs and more than 30,159 businesses,” more than two-thirds of which are located outside the Quebec City and Montreal regions. It is also estimated that for every dollar spent by tourists, “approximately [CAD] $0.70” benefits the Quebec economy.

The Roundtable highlights that there isn’t a moment to spare in updating government regulations for arrivals.

International visitors flock to Quebec’s winter attractions, such as the Carnaval de Quebec, the Hôtel de Glace and the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.

The consequences of the lack of international visitors to these upcoming events are real, the group says, and “hotels and restaurants have seen a significant decrease in patrons” and travel-related revenues from these events.

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