Tourism industry slams quarantine hotels, border closures

The head of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) says the Trudeau government’s quarantine hotels and travel restrictions are not fair or effective.

Speaking at a tourism industry conference, TIAC CEO Beth Potter said restrictions on travel are crushing their industry, meanwhile Canadians are not better protected from COVID-19.

“Countries around the world have amended their approach to quarantine using evidence-based data that supports reduced quarantine and an increased testing regime as a more effective way to protect populations,” she said. 

“We believe Canada needs to rethink quarantine rules and invest in rapid testing and contact tracing.”

Along with 14 days of isolation, people entering Canada are also forced to pay up to $2,000 per person to stay in government-approved hotels. The immense cost and hotel horror stories have discouraged many would-be travellers.

Potter says there are much better ways to ensure travellers do not spread the coronavirus. Many countries have already reopened for foreign tourists.

The tourism industry is among the hardest hit by the pandemic. In 2019, tourism brought in $104.9 billion and was the single largest employer of Canadian youth. Tourism sector workers are twice as likely to be unemployed in 2021.

Potter also says limits on interprovincial and international travel have gone on for too long. TIAC is asking the Trudeau government to set a tentative date to reopen the Canada-U.S. border.

“Tourism stakeholders have a shared commitment on keeping Canadians safe. We are asking the federal government for a plan or conditions for reopening interprovincial and international borders. It is important for our members to have time to plan, to prepare for reopening, to ramp up operations, to hire back staff, and to communicate with their clients.”

“Uncertainty is not a plan that ensures a successful recovery.”

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