July 19, 2021, Travel Press – Industry Reacts: A Great Step Forward
TIAC, ACTA Encouraged; NACC Looks Forward To Reopening, But Says Further Action Needed
Travel Press article also viewable here
TIAC and ACTA say they are encouraged by the federal government’s announcement on the easing of border measures earlier today, while the National Airline Council of Canada (NACC) indicated that it was looking forward to the reopening of the border, but also said that further action is still needed.
Noting that TIAC is heartened by the news for tourism businesses across the country, with its President & CEO, Beth Potter stating: “TIAC has been tirelessly advocating for a science-based plan for reopening our borders and restarting our visitor economy.”
Potter continued: “While it is important for Canadians to travel in Canada first as restrictions ease to support our domestic industry, international tourism is crucial to stimulating international trade and foreign investment.”
On September 7, based on the epidemiological situation, the government also announced that Canada’s borders will open to fully vaccinated international travellers with a government of Canada approved vaccine, and who meet Canada’s specific entry requirements.
There will be no changes to mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.
Said Potter: “We are pleased that the federal government has communicated an evidence-based plan to reopen the borders and restart travel. We are delighted to hear the start of this phased approach today.”
In addition, international passenger flights will now be allowed to land at five additional Canadian airports. TIAC is encouraged to hear that further conversations are to be had with additional airports as international travel levels increase. The three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all air travellers as of 12:01 am EDT on August 9.
However, TIAC also observed that while the industry is pleased with this news, equally important is the need for federal leadership on travel within Canada. Canadians should be able to freely travel across our country, avoiding 13 different travel policies that differ in each province and territory.
TIAC’s boss pointed out that: “Today’s announcement is very welcome news. However, at the right time, we need to eliminate the requirement of a PCR test for fully vaccinated travellers as it is not supported by science. We also need elected leaders to build public confidence in travel and to understand that tourism businesses are prepared to offer experiences following all of the necessary health and hygiene protocols.”
Potter concluded: “The tourism economy is ready to welcome visitors back. We look to our governments to shift to this message as things evolve.”
NACC Looks Forward To Reopening, But Says Further Action Needed
While Canada’s major airlines are looking forward to the re-opening of Canada’s border to fully vaccinated international travellers, they also note that further action will be required to enable recovery of the sector.
Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada — which represents Canada’s largest carriers, Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet – observed that: “As an industry, we have been calling on the government for months to provide a clear restart plan utilizing science-based measures. Though we have almost lost the summer travel season, today’s announcement provides clarity and timeframes that will allow consumers to plan, and the travel and tourism sector to begin welcoming fully vaccinated foreign travellers once again.”
NACC notes that over the past several weeks carriers have issued updated schedules and have been investing in bringing capacity back on line, to enable a safe restart. The industry will continue to work closely with the federal government over the coming weeks to ensure the successful implementation of the border changes.
The government announced it will also be expanding the number of Canadian airports that can receive international flights, it will also be eliminating the hotel quarantine program for all travellers, as was recommended by Health Canada’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel in May. The government will also no longer require non-vaccinated minors to formally quarantine.
Said McNaney: “We are certainly pleased to see firm dates for re-opening of our border for fully vaccinated travellers and elimination of hotel quarantine. But as the new measures take effect, we still firmly believe the government must take further steps and follow the clear recommendations released by Health Canada’s Expert Panel report including lowering quarantine duration for non-vaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers.”
And McNaney concluded: “We will be ready for August and September. But further policy changes will ultimately be needed to support the successful re-start of the industry and the tens of thousands of aviation jobs that have been impacted by the pandemic.”
ACTA Encouraged By Border Moves
ACTA President, Wendy Paradis said that the association “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.”
Paradis continued: “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.”
ACTA’s president continued: “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.”