Canada’s travel industry is calling on the federal government to end all remaining COVID-19 restrictions for travel.
“Leftover COVID-19 measures negatively impact the passenger experience at Canada’s border and limit the sector’s ability to recover after more than two years of shutdowns and restrictions. As the government looks to rebuild the Canadian economy and protect the health and safety of Canadians, there are no scientific reasons that the travel economy should be treated differently than any other sector, as confirmed by officials at the Public Health Agency of Canada,” the Roundtable said.
The organization’s latest demands come as the deadline for the ‘temporary’ suspension of mandatory, random testing at Canada’s international arrival airports draws close.
As Open Jaw has reported, Ottawa “paused” random mandatory testing for fully vaccinated travellers from 11JUN through 30JUN in an effort to reduce delays at airports. As the expiry date for the suspension nears, The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable says “it is critical” that random testing and other restrictions do not return and “push the sector backwards.”
“The Roundtable calls on the federal government to follow the overwhelming science and evidence and further lift COVID-19 restrictions plaguing Canada’s tourism sector and negatively impacting Canadian and international passengers,” the group said in a statement.
In addition to three specific demands to drop COVID travel restrictions, the Roundtable also asked for a meeting with federal government officials to discuss jointly developing a “contingency response plan” for Fall 2022, when, like ‘flu season,’ a new wave of the virus is expected.
In the meantime, the Roundtable wants the federal government to take three specific actions to eliminate pandemic travel restrictions:
- Permanently lift the vaccine requirement for travel for both domestic and international travellers in addition to workers in the sector;
- Remove COVID-19 testing out of the travel environment and consider other ways to assess community spread, such as community wastewater testing for tracking future variants; and
- Streamline the ArriveCan app – and use it solely as a pre-entry declaration system to digitize border processing.
Ongoing use of ArriveCAN may be one area where the industry and Ottawa may be aligned. The federal government this week indicated it intends to continue use of the ArriveCAN app as part of its plan for “modernized” border processing, which the Roundtable’s statement appears to support.
And the feds had already announced improvements to ArriveCAN to help make the app “faster and easier for travellers to use.