Industry leaders from Newfoundland and Labrador, along with the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, came together yesterday to encourage Canadians — and fully vaccinated international travellers — to explore Canada this summer.
With the summer travel season now well underway, local businesses across Newfoundland and Labrador are reiterating the importance of domestic travel to sustain the community.
Cathy Duke, CEO at Destination St. John’s, observed that: “As the oldest and most easterly city in North America, St. John’s has long been a sought-after destination for Canadian travellers. Most of Canada has been locked down for the past year and half. With over 85% of our visitors coming from within Canada, I cannot overemphasize the importance of our Prime Minister now encouraging Canadians to travel this summer.”
And Duke added: “Our message to Canada: come and visit, help us rebuild our businesses. There’s so much here to safely explore.”
In a normal year, provinces in Atlantic Canada welcome more than 7 million visitors who bring in over $5.2 billion in revenue.
For Newfoundland and Labrador alone, the tourism industry generates close to $1.14 billion in spending annually with almost 2,800 businesses and over 20,000 jobs in the tourism sector, representing 9% of all jobs in the province.
Every sector of the Atlantic region economy has been impacted by the restrictions, but none harder than the tourism and hospitality sectors. Every year, domestic travel accounts for over 85% of visitors to Newfoundland and Labrador and the summer months are crucial for local business survival. With provincial restrictions now lifted, it is time for Canadians to return to visiting and exploring our local communities.
AnnMarie Boudreau, Chief Executive Officer at St. John’s Board of Trade, said that: “Since our province re-opened last week, it has been remarkable to see the increase in activity within the city. Summer tourism sustains businesses large and small and it is critical to our business community that we make the most of the next few months.”
Local businesses are suffering unnecessarily because of confusion and uncertainty over the safety of domestic travel. Vaccination rates are rising across Atlantic Canada, with all four provinces exceeding 70% of eligible residents receiving their first dose. Because of this progress, it is important that Canadians receive a clear message from the federal government encouraging domestic tourism.
Said Boudreau: “We need government to deliver a clear message to Canadians that we are open for business and that it is safe to explore our beautiful country.”