More than 120 industry leaders and partners have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to "reopen the doors of our country" by means of an open letter, sent on behalf of the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable.
Several familiar names are on the list of signatures, including Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO, Air Canada; Carolyne Doyon, president and CEO North America, Club Med; Ed Sims, president and CEO, WestJet; Frank DeMarinis, president and CEO, Travel Brands; Jean-Marc Eustache, president and CEO, Transat; Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA); and Zeina Gedeon, CEO, Travel Professionals International.
The focal point of the letter is the impact that COVID-19 has had on the tourism sector, where members address that personal and financial sacrifices, as well as tough business decisions were made in accordance with government guidelines.
However, the letter cites that as things progress, the industry is "getting the worst of it."
"As we re-open, we are learning to live with the virus, not hide from it or from each other. And, just like we are re-opening the front doors of our homes and businesses, we need to re-open the doors of our provinces, territories – and our country," the letter states.
According to the coalition, several restrictions currently in place are too broad or even unnecessary - notably restrictions on interprovincial travel . That said, the coalition is also concerned with international travel.
"The Canadian travel, tourism and hospitality sector employs 1.8 million people and contributes $102 billion to our economy. It relies on the summer season to survive. As Canadians, we wait all year to travel during the summer. We need the summer," the letter adds.
Members also expressed the need for a more "targeted approach" to the resumption of international travel, claiming that the "mandatory 14-day quarantine and complete closure of our country to all visitors from abroad is no longer necessary and is out of step with other countries across the globe."
Instead, members urge the Canadian government to examine some of the safety measures that other countries have enacted--like Germany, France, Italy and Australia-- that have started to re-open borders to countries deemed safe.
Heightened hygiene and bio-safety measures are being adopted across travel and tourism in Canada to allow for safe travel, with confidence.
"It’s time to encourage Canadians and some visitors from abroad to explore our country this summer, to begin reuniting friends and families, to allow important business travel to occur, and to get our employees working safely again.
It’s time our governments allow Canadians to travel freely."
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