New travel rules allow non-essential visitors back into B.C.

B.C. is welcoming international travellers back into the province for non-essential travel, such as tourism.

New federal rules came into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, meaning foreign nationals who meet entry conditions will not have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The team at Vancouver International Airport said they’ve been planning for the move for months, making sure all systems were in place to welcome passengers back.

“We’re ready for you, we’ve planned this out, we’ve looked at it, we’ve made it as efficient as possible,” said Robyn McVicker, vice-president of passenger care.

Fully vaccinated passengers are required to enter their vaccine and testing information into the ArriveCan app, which is then checked by a border agent upon arrival. McVicker said passengers could still be subject to random COVID-19 testing.

There are a number of departure and arrival testing options available on Sea Island.

The reopening of the border to foreign nationals is a welcome boost for the tourism industry, but could come too late for many summer operators, according to Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association Of B.C.

“For those seasonal businesses the window has pretty much closed and they won’t see any business until next year from the international market,” said Judas. “Most people have already spent their summer holidays elsewhere or closer to home.”

But Judas said there is now certainty for the industry moving forward, particularly for winter operators, major events and conferences.

“Now that the borders are reopen they have some certainty to be able book that business and be confident that it is going to take place,” Judas said.