JANEEN CHRISTOFF AUGUST 03, 2021
It was welcome news for many Americans to hear that Canada would reopen its borders to vaccinated American travelers. Canada is one of the most popular destinations, and there’s sure to be a large number of U.S. travelers flocking to the border when the country once again welcomes them back.
TravelPulse took this opportunity to speak with Destination Canada CEO Marsha Walden to find out what awaits visiting Americans when traveling to Canada after the coronavirus outbreak.
Walden noted that this is a major step forward for Canada.
“Historically, the US has been Canada’s largest inbound market, delivering nearly 15 million arrivals and $11 Billion in spend to Canada in 2019,” she said. “The reopening of the Canadian border to fully vaccinated American non-essential travelers will be a major step to the Canadian tourism sector’s recovery.”
Whether or not there is a surge of U.S. visitors, Canada will need time to return to normal visitor numbers.
“It will take some time for us to reach our 2019 numbers again with the US forecasted to bring in $800M in 2021 and climbing to $5B in 2022,” said Walden. “We will continue to re-assess potential recovery scenarios and visitor forecasts.”
However, Walden noted that Team Canada is ready to go.
“Americans can feel confident in making travel plans as tourism businesses throughout Canada invested billions in health and hygiene protocols, retraining staff, and reconfiguring experiences to prepare for re-opening to Canadians and to international visitors,” she said.
Walden also said that it is important Americans remember that Canadian tourism businesses have health and hygiene measures in place for the benefit of travelers, their staff and their communities.
“The majority of the 232,000 tourism businesses in Canada are independently owned small and medium enterprises, often with family members as staff,” she said. “Since the onset of the pandemic we have seen Canadian businesses adapt to the required health and safety requirements with smart strategies and innovations to keep guests safe, while not compromising the exceptional experiences they offer.”
There is also a high rate of vaccination in the country.
“Canada’s population 12-plus has one of the world’s highest rates of COVID-19 vaccination, with over 80 percent having one dose and over 60 percent fully vaccinated,” Walden pointed out. “Travelers can have confidence in exploring Canada.
“With an increase in vaccination rates and the easing of some restrictions, the importance of understanding Americans’ perceptions of safety and ease of traveling to Canada becomes more prominent. Later this week, we will be publishing a new report with insights on this topic, which will help guide tourism business messaging and keep them informed of American sentiment as we welcome vaccinated travelers back to Canada,” said Walden. “We are proud to continue to support a sector that has shown such great resilience throughout the global pandemic.”
Visitors coming to Canada will find all of the activities and atmosphere they have grown to love.
“From our lively cities immersed in nature, to spectacular wilderness and coastlines, to our unique mosaic of Indigenous and global cultures, every day in Canada offers travelers a new adventure and a chance to reconnect with what’s important,” said Walden. “When visiting Canada, travelers can share their own cultures and perspectives with Canadians while exploring the beauty of our land and our people and growing in ways that reshape their outlook on life.”
Nature will be particularly popular.
“Canada’s cities on the edge of nature offer all of the experiences that excite travelers,” she said. “From hiking and walking in nature to trying local food and visiting awe-inspiring natural attractions, Canada provides the perfect space to disconnect, recharge, and embrace the joy of exploring once again.”
Walden also noted that travel to Canada may look a little different.
“It’s important that travelers plan ahead and follow safety guidelines,” she said. “There are resources available to help plan for leisure or business travel. Visit Destination Canada’s website, CanadaNice.ca, for resources, including a user-friendly Interactive Map that shows current travel restrictions and travel requirements by province and territory for leisure travel.”