Alberta’s tourism industry is optimistic that U.S. travelers will return after 16 grueling months, as Ottawa prepares to release more details on the reopening of the Canada-U.S. Border.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that Canada could start accepting fully vaccinated travelers from the United States for non-essential travel by mid-August, and international visitors by early September.
Travel Alberta CEO David Goldstein called it “encouraging news” as it has been a difficult year and a half for Alberta’s tourism industry and he “just can’t afford another summer. lost “.
âThe United States is Alberta’s largest international market and we are excited about the prospect of welcoming American travelers again before the summer ends,â Goldstein said Friday.
âThis could make a significant difference in the seasonal results of tourism businesses in the province. “
According to Travel Alberta, U.S. travelers accounted for more than $ 990 million in spending in 2019, with more than 1.2 million person-visits with overnight stays.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to impact 23,000 jobs. Tourism spending is said to have fallen 48 percent, according to Travel Alberta.
Plans to reopen are also welcomed by the Calgary Airport Authority.
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“We welcome the announcement of the opening of the Canada-US border to Americans and fully vaccinated international travelers in late summer and fall,” said Krista Oulette of the Calgary Airport Authority.
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âWe have made significant investments in our internationally accredited #FlyHealthyYYC program, and will continue to work closely with governments, airlines and partner airports for a safe and healthy return to air travel. “
Oulette said the airport has seen an increase in guest numbers since the federal announcement of the end of hotel quarantines for double-vaccinated guests.
Travel Lady’s Lesley Keyter also applauded plans to reopen, but said she was disappointed another issue had not been addressed.
âI was initially disappointed to read this statement because it said nothing about travelers leaving Canada,â she said. âIt’s great for the tourism industry – inbound tourism – because I know hotels and resorts in Canada have been devastated by this whole pandemic.
âSo it’s good that they have reservations for the end of the summer, and being able to open the ski resorts for the winter will be fabulous. But my question is, if we let people in … why haven’t we lifted or adjusted the travel advisory so that Canadians can travel abroad? “
Keyter said Canadians were eager to travel, but the messages were mixed.
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âThis pent-up demand is real and people really want to travel,â she said. âI think that’s not so much the case if they’re not confident, (rather) it’s a case of what’s going to change next week or two or three weeks. It’s an uncertain climateâ¦ It seems conflictual.
âI feel like we are becoming immigration lawyers because we follow government advice and understand requirements. So it’s been exhausting, but it’s exhilarating. People want to travel so badly.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Jason Kenney said overall his government is happy that plans are underway for border travel.
“We are delighted that Trudeau listened to common sense and science when considering reopening Canada’s borders to fully vaccinated travelers,” the statement read.
âThis is something the Government of Alberta has advocated to support our tourism industry. While we were hoping it would be earlier than fall, it is positive that there is a date on the horizon.
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