TORONTO, March 10, 2022 /CNW/ – Together with the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable (“The Roundtable”), local business leaders, including representatives from the Toronto Region Board of Trade, the Global Business Travel Association, American Express Global Business Travel, and Destination Toronto have come together to urge the federal government to remove non-science-based obstacles to international travel by April 1.
Specifically, The Roundtable is calling on the government to remove the pre-departure rapid antigen test for fully vaccinated travellers by April 1, when the regulations will be updated.
Countries that have removed this requirement include Denmark, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ireland, and Norway.
In 2019, business travel in Canada contributed over $40 billion annually to the Canadian economy and supported over 600,000 jobs. The pandemic has disproportionally impacted business travel; at the height of the pandemic, business travel dropped close to 90%, representing a monthly loss of $2.9 billion.
Notwithstanding the current pandemic state, defined by mass vaccination and low levels of hospitalizations, business travel has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Today, business travel is about 30% of 2019 volumes. The federal government’s travel restrictions are a significant deterrent, discouraging international companies from resuming travel into Canada.
“Travel and tourism are massive economic drivers in our province, and many businesses in Toronto depend on international travellers, particularly business travellers,” said Lindsay Broadhead, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. “There are many reasons for optimism as we look forward to our economic recovery. It is time to re-establish our position as a welcoming place for visitors by removing obstacles to travel, including the rapid-antigen test,” concluded Ms Broadhead.
“Pre-departure testing is a barrier to business travel. Canada’s travel rules complicate business planning, do not permit flexibility or schedule changes, add tremendous uncertainty, hurt productivity, and create financial burdens for businesses looking to send their employees into or returning to Canada“, said Nancy Tudorache, Regional Vice-President, Canada of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). “GBTA’s forecast estimates that business travel in Canada, subject to the federal government’s lifting of travel rules, will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, hence the urgent nature of our requests,” finished Ms Tudorache.
“Toronto is an international hub and world-class destination for big conferences and events. Big conferences and events fuel the local economy and support the city’s tourism sector. Toronto is being overlooked as international event planners look to make location decisions for future events. The federal government’s costly, confusing, and cumbersome travel rules are stymieing Toronto’s tourism sector, said Patrick Doyle, Vice President & General Manager at American Express Global Business Travel. “We are calling on the federal government to lift the remaining travel restrictions and reopen Canada to the world,” stated Mr Doyle.
The pandemic, vaccination status, and available science have evolved; so should the response and measures to keep Canadians safe while allowing the travel and tourism industry to reopen.
About the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable
Travel and Tourism is a $102 billion sector, employing millions of Canadians across the country and accounting for 2.1% of the country’s gross domestic product. It advocates for safe and prosperous tourism and travel sector across Canada. The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector – including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, and chambers of commerce across the country – committed to working together to restart the sector smoothly and safely.
SOURCE Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable
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