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Destination Canada Asks Canadians to Keep It Close to Home

Country’s tourism board asks travelers to stay domestic in recovery phase to make up for devastating losses in the sector

The tourism board of Canada says that new data reveals Canadian nationals have a high pent-up demand for international travel when it is safe and allowed for non-essential travels.

However the data released by Destination Canada also shows that the country has suffered “unprecedented losses in 2020 and tourism continues to be by far the most threatened sector in the Canadian economy due to its service nature and current reliance on foreign tourists.”

The report said that if Canadians shift two-thirds of planned spending on international leisure travel towards domestic tourism, the spend would make up for the estimated C$19 billion shortfall currently facing Canada’s visitor economy, helping to sustain 150,000 jobs and accelerate recovery by one year.

“We understand that everyone is eager for some much-needed vacation time and we are calling on Canadians to plan their future travel within Canada,” said Marsha Walden, president and chief executive officer of Destination Canada in a statement.

“We are all fortunate to live in this incredibly beautiful and diverse country with breathtaking experiences from coast to coast to coast – now is the time to plan on exploring our backyards when safe to do so. This is how each and every Canadian can enjoy our country while meaningfully helping the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods enhance our quality of life in Canada.”

The report also said that despite projected growth, current forecasting for 2021 still places tourism and related job growth in Canada at more than 30 percent below 2019 levels. From April to November 2020, passenger air transport revenue collapsed, falling 91 percent, with accommodation revenues dropping by 71 percent.

The normally fluid border between Canada and the US remains closed with numerous deadlines for reopening coming and going since April 2020. Currently, all travelers arriving to Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period.

These measures are in addition to, not in lieu of, existing mandatory quarantine requirements.