Residents of British Columbia will no longer be required to self-isolate upon arrival in Yukon, or when they return home, as the regions plan to reopen their borders on July 1st.
The news is welcomed by tour operators and officials as it presents an opportunity for visitors to explore each other's jurisdictions over the summer.
The Pacific Northwest travel bubble comes just days after Canada’s four Atlantic provinces - Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador - confirmed a travel bubble of their own, which will begin on July 3rd.
READ MORE: A travel bubble is coming to Atlantic Canada
According to Blake Rogers, Executive Director of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon (TIA Yukon), it's a great first step in helping the visitor economy regain some of the ground it lost since travel restrictions were put in place in March.
"British Columbians and Yukoners have long been great neighbours, partners, and friends, and travel back and forth over the years has brought us even closer together. We can't wait to welcome BC residents to our stunning territory. It's a great way to extend their options for a safe and accessible vacation this summer," he stated in a release.
Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia (TIA BC) shares this sentiment, adding that the opening of the BC-Yukon border will help encourage more travel and visitor spend during the most challenging year for the tourism industry on record.
"Now that Phase 3 of BC's Restart Plan is officially underway, we're asking residents to vacation at home but venture further afield to places they've never been before. That includes Northern BC and ideally would also encompass the amazing Yukon Territory. British Columbians would not only enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery, but appreciate the warmth and hospitality of Yukoners. Same goes for Yukoners visiting BC," he stated.
Judas and Rogers both highlight the fact that the tourism industry is taking the lead in creating safe, fun, secure ways for BC and Yukon residents to explore the two jurisdictions.
They also note the level of camaraderie and collaboration among tourism operators in BC and the Yukon and see it as a huge benefit to visitors.
"With direct flights to and from Vancouver with Air North, Yukon's Airline, stunning scenery for those who dream of a road or camping trip and tourism operators ready to offer up amazing packages and deals it's the perfect time to book." said Rogers. "It's such a unique opportunity for residents of BC to experience the Yukon. And of course, we know Yukoners love to visit BC. It's a win win for both jurisdictions and our industry."
The decision to open comes about after careful consideration by health authorities in Canada's most western province and territory.
Both are considered safe places without many cases of COVID-19 (Yukon currently has no confirmed active cases and BC continues to confirm a very low number of new and active cases), and both require each business to have a plan in place before reopening to ensure that they are implementing best practices and protocols to safeguard the health of staff and guests.
Residents of BC who visit Yukon will not be required to self-isolate when arriving in the Yukon or when returning home to BC, the same is true for Yukoners who choose to visit BC, no self-isolation will be required when they visit BC or when they return to Yukon.
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