Those eager to kickstart this country’s tourist trade must do more than convince potential tourists that it’s once again safe to hit the road, a March 30 TIAC webinar was told.
Joe Naaman of consulting firm Twenty31 wondered how those in tourism can “unscare” people who may be nervous that it’s safe to again explore this country but also cautioned that those who do vacation in Canada must be received well on their vacations.
Those in the hospitality trade must “make sure people (in hosting communities) are enthusiastic about tourism and are welcoming to visitors,” he said.
Naaman told viewers that coronavirus rates are falling in some but certainly not all countries and there are currently 172 nations that now have “some sort of restrictions on border crossings.”
Vaccination programs are progressing quickly in some countries but lagging in others, he added.
Naaman noted that some countries have altered their tourism strategies, with New Zealand, for instance, deciding to seek wealthy visitors.
“We’re all dreaming about what the future of tourism will look like,” Naaman said.
Meanwhile, Michele McKenzie, former head of Destination Canada, said she was proud of how “adaptive” the travel industry has been during the pandemic.
Associations like TIAC have been “doing a good job” of focusing on domestic tourism, she said but added that she’s concerned that demand for air travel in this country is low.
Pierre Charbonneau, formerly with Air Canada and now with IATA, said air travel in this country is having to deal with “layer after layer after layer” of government-imposed restrictions, some of which he said result from “political considerations.”
Canada is one “of the most conservative countries” when it comes to easing air travel, adding that many travellers may not be willing to deal with Canadian regulations, choosing instead not to come here.