The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is leading a series of meetings with Parliamentarians this week to lobby for the industry as part of its annual Hill Days advocacy campaign from 15 to 17FEB.
TIAC says the meetings aim to educate federal government officials on the issues faced by the tourism industry and to champion policies to help rebuild the travel economy.
Organization members will host more than 50 virtual meetings with Members of Parliament (MPs), Senators and other officials to discuss the way forward as the industry starts to rebuild.
This year’s fully-virtual campaign comes as the federal government announced that it is changing pandemic restrictions at the border, eliminating the requirement of a negative PCR (or molecular) test to enter the country.
“We’re encouraged today by the Government of Canada’s move to end to PCR tests for fully-vaccinated travellers as of [28FEB]. A negative antigen, or rapid, test is far less onerous and cumbersome to procure. We have been advocating heavily for this change on behalf of our members as well as the tourism industry at large; especially in recent weeks as the pandemic, vaccination status, and available science have evolved,” says Beth Potter, President & CEO of TIAC.
“It’s a step in the right direction and we look forward to the removal of the rapid test in the very near future. As Canada enters a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic – one marked by widespread vaccination and high levels of prior infection, and one which many Medical Officers of Health have called endemic – it's time for the federal government to reopen Canada by ending not just PCR, but also antigen testing for all fully-vaccinated travellers.”
“We have a plan, but we need help,” says Potter of the tourism industry in Canada. “We’re urging TIAC members and the industry-at-large to help us amplify our message to the government.”
TIAC members can assist in the Association's advocacy members by visiting the campaign's web site, and taking to social media with provided templates, images, and messaging.
The advocacy campaign messaging highlights the importance of tourism in the Canadian economy, with the industry responsible for CAD $105 billion in GDP, provided 1 in 10 Canadian jobs, and made up of 225,000 small- and medium-sized businesses across Canada.
According to Statistics Canada, as of DEC 2020, businesses in the tourism sector accounted for 7.7 per cent of all employer businesses in Canada, of which the vast majority (98.0 per cent) were small businesses with less than 100 employees.
Over four-fifths (84.3 per cent) of businesses in the tourism sector experienced a decrease in revenue in 2020 compared with three-fifths (60.5 per cent) of all businesses, says TIAC. Almost half (44.9 per cent) of businesses in the tourism sector experienced a decline of 40 per cent or more in revenue in 2020, with those in Northwest Territories (52.4 per cent), Prince Edward Island (51.6 per cent), and Manitoba (51.3 per cent) most likely to see this level of loss.
For more information on TIAC's Hill Days, visit its web site.