Canadian Tourism Industry Pushing for Border Reopening Before Summer
Canada's tourism industry is kicking off a campaign to get traffic flowing once again over the Canada-U.S. border.
Armed with a new report by the Expert Advisory Panel to the federal government, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada is pushing to get the international crossing reopened as soon as possible.
Association chair Dave McKenna tells AM800 News that the industry can't afford to be closed for another summer.
"The tourism industry was the first hit by the pandemic, the hardest hit and will be the last to recover. The industry has been crushed and we can't lose another summer tourist season," he says. "Medical experts all telling us that we're winning the battle with COVID with vaccinations raising and cases going down."
McKenna says the time to act is now.
"Now is the time to pivot. Right now, the government is talking about decreasing key programs that help keep tourism businesses afloat. If that is the case, then the border needs to reopen to allow for the tourism industry to have a chance at their own recovery," he says.
McKenna says a new set of rules needs to be created.
"There needs to be changes made to the border policy to reflect the progress we've made in vaccinations and fighting the pandemic," he says. "We know that people have been able to fly to the U.S. for vacation, however, at the same time, only a limited number of essential workers can cross the border. It just doesn't make sense."
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began — the closure has been extended each month since with the current order set to expire June 21.
With files from Patty Handysides