Industry Needs To Be At The Table: TIAC

The head of the Canadian Airports Council is questioning whether Ottawa should have a blanket approach when it comes to people arriving in this country during the coronavirus pandemic.

Daniel-Robert Gooch told a Tuesday Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) webinar that there’s a uniform policy in place for arrivals, even though the countries they’re coming from may have very different levels of success when it comes to coping with coronavirus.

This country needs to “be more nimble in how we evaluate risk,” said Gooch, wondering whether someone arriving here from New Zealand — widely viewed as having contained coronavirus — should have to go through the same safety measures as someone arriving from Britain, which continues to struggle with the disease.

Gooch also said the travel industry should have greater input when it comes to guidelines resulting from the pandemic for travellers, and “not find out” about new guidelines when Prime Minister Trudeau holds a news conference.

The webinar came as the pandemic moves closer to one year of dealing a devastating blow to this country’s tourism trade.

Joe Naaman of Twenty31 Consulting told viewers that “there are some bright spots” for the travel industry, such as the developments of vaccines.

As well, he said that “there is an understanding that lockdowns cannot continue indefinitely,” with the World Health Organization recognizing that.

But he also noted that the vaccine rollout isn’t moving as quickly as hoped for.

Naaman also pointed out that coronavirus has led to 173 countries having lockdowns of one kind or another, something that hampers international travel’s recovery.

“Things are likely going to get a little bit worse before they get better,” he warned.

Destination Toronto president Scott Beck said that the safety of travellers “has always been a priority” for those working in tourism but noted that the pandemic’s continuation is placing this country’s 2021 summer tourism season “in peril.”

The tough past 10 months means the travel industry “has a need for liquidity,” he stated.

Beck also agreed it’s important that the travel industry have a say in coronavirus decisions made by governments that impact tourism in a major way.

“Please get us at the table,” he said.