The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) announced today that it is calling on the Federal Government of Canada to come up with a plan to reopen the border between Canada and the United States, which has now been closed for almost 15 months. The campaign underscores the urgency of getting Canadian decision-makers to commit to a date to open the border before another summer tourism season is lost. Prime Minister Trudeau had extended the border ban between Canada and the United States until at least until June 21, 2021.
Trudeau said more than 75% of Canadians may need to be vaccinated before the Canadian-US border can be opened.
“Medical experts tell us that we are winning the battle with COVID. As vaccinations increase and the number of cases decreases, we must now turn to more forward-looking policies and talk about a safe reopening of the border and end the extreme economic ploy that has flattened the tourism industry and ruined the tourism economy in Canada. As Canada and the United States return to normal, we must prepare to open the border quickly and safely and restart our tourism economy, ”said Beth Potter, President and CEO of TIAC.
The TIAC points out that the expert advice panel to the federal government on COVID-19 testing and screening earlier this month expressed strong arguments for changing the country’s current travel policy and said it should be updated to reflect the progress made in control pandemic. Proposals included removing the mandatory hotel quarantine system and changing the cross-border travel policy.
“The closure of the border was a blunt funeral to help stop the pandemic, but the fact that people can fly to the United States to vacation without quarantine there, but a very limited number of key workers can cross the border, never made sense. At the same time, the government is talking about ending important economic aid programs that have kept tourism businesses afloat throughout this ordeal. It cannot be both ways; either continue to support tourism companies through programs like CEWS and CERS, or start reopening the border so companies can get back to work, ”Potter said.
“The Canadian side is in a hurry to plan the inevitable reopening of the border, which has been out of step with US officials and the Biden administration. President Biden formally called for a reopening plan for the border immediately after accession, and so far Canada has been slow to make public progress, “Potter added.
The TIAC notes that “Public calls for reopening have been steadily growing on both sides of the border in recent weeks: Congress leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have called for the border to open now; Liberal MPs Wayne Easter and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith have added their votes, and several prominent editorial officials have called on the Canadian government to start the planning process. ”
According to the press release, “the TIAC is asking the government to take urgent steps in this matter so that Canadian tourism operators and businesses have the opportunity to plan. They need time to retrain, reintroduce and market. Many people rely on pre-bookings and without a clear reopening plan and a commitment to when it will happen, people are unsure whether they can book activities in Canada or not – at any time in the future. ”
“The decision to close the border was made in a time of crisis, and now that we are starting to get through on the other side, we need to have a plan in place to reopen the border to kickstart the Canadian tourist economy. “Canada’s health and safety remain paramount – which is why we need guidance from all levels of government on a plan,” Potter said.
You can read more at Open Canada US Border website.