TIAC president Beth Potter is calling on authorities to provide those in the tourism trade with advance notice of a reopening date for the Canada-U.S. border, saying an industry that’s been “cut off at the knees” by the coronavirus pandemic will need time to prepare for the return of clients.
Potter told a Thursday webinar that many tourism firms in this country have been “shuttered for 15 months,” and “they’ve already lost one summer. They don’t want to lose a second summer.”
Summer is the pivotal season for this country’s tourism trade.
But Potter warned that tourism is not “something you can turn on with a switch …We need a plan.”
She said that tourism firms restarting business among other things will need to rehire laid-off staff or possibly retrain new staff to replace those who’ve left the industry.
Potter also said travel in this country must be seamless, enabling tourists to explore without continually encountering different coronavirus-related restrictions when crossing from one province to another.
TIAC is calling on Canadians to get vaccinated, something it says will help spur tourism’s recovery.
The webinar was also told by U.S. congressman Brian Higgins that we “now have a powerful medicine against COVID … and that has to be recognized” and fully vaccinated people should be able to cross the border.
Higgins said vaccinations in the U.S. have been shown to be 90% to 95% effective, performing well above flu vaccinations, which are around 45% effective.
“My hope is wisdom … will prevail,” Higgins said of a decision on the border’s status.
Higgins said it was understandable that the border was closed earlier in the pandemic but “we have come a long way” and his own country – which struggled to contain coronavirus throughout much of last year – is now a world leader in vaccinations.
“All of us need to get back to a semblance of normalcy,” Higgins added.