ACTA is warning that unless there is a plan for the recovery of this country’s travel and tourism industry, Canada will be left behind.
The industry association has been outspoken in urging the federal government to develop a recovery plan, outlining what needs to be part of that plan in its 2021 Travel & Tourism Recovery Plan.
And it also pointed out that while the travel industry is putting health and safety measures in place, it needs the government to work with industry on rapid testing, contact tracing, vaccine documentation and protocols — in order to ease travel advisories and reduce quarantine measures over time.
Travel agencies and independent travel agents across Canada have also made it clear to ACTA that without a roadmap to recovery from the government, it is difficult to make any plans for the future or to commit to applying for any of the government loan programs and amassing more debt.
And ACTA is making those concerns known in its ongoing meetings with government officials.
The call for a recovery plan for the travel and tourism industry is a call that’s being made by other industry groups here in Canada and around the world, with ACTA participating in a number of travel & tourism roundtables to help get the message out as to how critical the need is for a plan to restart travel.
Just ahead of the June G7 meeting set to be held in the United Kingdom, leaders of the U.S. and UK aviation, travel and tourism industries had a chance to present Reopening US UK Air Travel to President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson.
Canadian business leaders, including ACTA and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, are urging the Canadian government to take action and finalize the roadmap to reopen Canada.
Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, observed that: “Even with the roll out of vaccines well underway, ACTA understands that large events and widespread travel may not be possible today as we are still in the third wave.”
Said Paradis: “However, projections show that Canada will be in very good shape with vaccines by mid to late summer of 2021. We need a roadmap that outlines clear metrics for re-opening. We need to GET READY.”
ACTA also makes it clear that without a plan, Canada will be left behind, with Paradis observing: “We are already hearing of other countries reconsidering investing in Canada as a destination and as an outbound market, given Canada’s lack of planning and conditions required for the restart of travel. We need the plan in order to keep Canada globally competitive … inbound and outbound.”
ACTA’s message to the government is clear – the travel industry cannot afford to wait until after the pandemic is over for a travel restart plan, given the lead-time required for implementation.
As a result, the industry association has urged and continues to urge the government to develop clear data-driven criteria for the conditions required for the restart of travel that includes:
- A continued robust and effective vaccine rollout plan
- A national testing and contact tracing strategy
- Digital verification tools for international travel
- Reduction of mandatory hotel stopover
- Reducing or eliminating the 14-day quarantine
- Easing of Travel Advisories
Paradis notes that: “We are encouraged that in ACTA meetings with Members of Parliament and senior government officials, we are hearing that planning is well underway. We are also finally seeing and hearing the government speak publicly about vaccine documentation and testing tools, and alignment with other G20 countries more and more over the past few weeks.”
And she added: “We expect this to continue as we get closer to the G7 Summit in early June. We understand there is some reluctance to roll out Canada’s Roadmap for fear of sending mixed messages to Canadians while we are in the midst of a third wave.”