Tourism industry relieved as Canada lays out plan to reopen border – .

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Tourism industry relieved as Canada lays out plan to reopen border – .


Fully vaccinated U.S. residents will be allowed to re-enter the country for non-essential travel starting August 9.

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Relief in tourism circles was palpable following Ottawa’s decision to reopen international borders in the coming weeks.

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Fully vaccinated U.S. residents will be allowed to re-enter the country for non-essential travel from August 9, the federal government said on Monday. Twice-vaccinated travelers from other countries can return from September 7. Border measures remain subject to change “as the epidemiological situation evolves,” the government also said.

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While the move likely won’t allow hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses in Montreal and elsewhere to save their summer season, it does give them a chance to operate under more normal circumstances and plan for growth in 2022. The Borders of Canada have been essentially closed since March 2020.

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“We are happy and relieved,” said Manuela Goya, vice-president of destination development at Tourisme Montreal, the city’s tourism promotion agency, in an interview. “Despite all the representations we made, we didn’t know how long the border was going to be closed. This situation could have lasted longer.

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To be allowed to enter Canada, foreign tourists will still need to present full proof of vaccination and a negative test performed prior to arrival. Mandatory quarantine requirements will be removed, as will mandatory post-arrival testing – unless passengers have been randomly selected to perform a COVID-19 molecular test.

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The easing of travel restrictions is “excellent news for tourism, for Montreal hoteliers and restaurateurs,” said Mayor Valérie Plante tweeted.

Summer is typically Montreal’s greatest tourist season, accounting for 4 million of the 11 million visitors the city welcomed in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. Last year, Montreal attracted 108,000 summer tourists.

Promotion efforts will begin immediately, primarily targeting states in the northeastern United States such as Maine, New York and Vermont, Goya said. While forecasting is inherently risky, and even more so during a pandemic, Goya said Montreal now aims to attract around 6 million out-of-city visitors next year – assuming the border remains open.

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The reopening “will do us a world of good,” said Marie-Pier Germain, vice president of sales and marketing for the hotel chain that bears her family’s name, in a telephone interview. “Last year was a perfect storm. It’s great to have the time to organize yourself properly.

Germain Hotels operates 18 establishments across Canada, including seven in Quebec.

Especially for professionals in the tourism industry, unvaccinated U.S. children under the age of 12 accompanied by a fully immunized parent or guardian will be allowed into Canada for non-essential travel.

“You will see American families return, which is a key element of the recovery,” said Michel Leblanc, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

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Since it is impossible to predict how many foreign visitors will return or how quickly, Ottawa is expected to extend financial assistance to tourism businesses until the end of 2021, Leblanc added.

“The reopening has been so long in coming that businesses such as tour operators may find it difficult to generate enough cash flow to get through the fall,” he said.

With the easing of restrictions now confirmed, global airlines can start restoring some 682 domestic and international routes that have been cut due to the pandemic, the International Air Transport Association said on Monday. Reopening the border will increase Canada’s gross domestic product by $ 14 billion per year, according to IATA estimates.

Montreal-based Air Canada said on Monday it planned to operate up to 220 daily flights to and from the United States after the reopening, which it called “a science-based milestone. “. Its updated summer schedule will include 55 routes and 34 destinations in the United States. 21 flights per week will connect Montreal to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

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Rival WestJet Airlines also praised Ottawa’s announcement, calling it “an important and positive step forward.”

“This is the type of ad we were looking for,” said Andy Gibbons, head of government affairs at Calgary-based WestJet, in a telephone interview. “It has been so difficult to properly plan our flights over the past year and a half. The most difficult challenge right now is planning where our planes are going, as the demand environment is unpredictable. A lot of it depends on government and consumer trends that have really fluctuated. “

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