What should Canadians know about travelling this summer and fall?
We know that Canadians are eager to get out and explore, and we want to assure them that their safety and health are paramount. The tourism industry – including hotels, airlines, airports and attractions – has invested significant time and resources to ensure that robust safety measures are in place to protect Canadians as they begin to rediscover their own backyards, regions and country.
The tourism industry has worked tirelessly to respond to recommendations of health authorities by developing stringent health and safety protocols. Each sector of the industry has provided detailed guidelines, which we invite travellers to consult prior to travel. We strongly urge Canadians who are travelling to respect health guidelines as they head out to explore their own regions as a great way to reinvigorate their local economies and support local tourism.
Where can Canadian visitors expect a warm welcome from businesses and attractions?
Our industry is resilient – and many businesses are open and eager to welcome guests. If there is one message we wish to convey to all Canadians, it is to support local tourism operators, be it a restaurant, attraction, golf course, accommodation or campground. Canadians are invited to research what is open, what to expect when they get there, and what health and safety measures are in place.
For now, Canadian visitors can expect a warm welcome from tourism businesses eager to host them and their families in their own regions and provinces where permitted. It is our hope that, in the coming weeks, interprovincial borders will continue to open, and Canadians will have opportunities to explore other parts of the country. TIAC, along with several other national and provincial industry associations, has been calling on federal and provincial governments to work together to develop a cohesive reopening strategy.
What is tourism’s contribution to the well-being of communities, and how has this been impacted by the pandemic?
Tourism is one of the few industries that are present in every riding in Canada. Prior to COVID-19, tourism was responsible for about one in 11 jobs in Canada (and was supported by more than 200,000 tourism businesses). Furthermore, tourism operations typically showcase or enhance attributes in the communities or regions in which they operate, contributing to the pride and cultural well-being of locals.
We’ve heard countless examples about the precarious position tourism has experienced in the face of massive shutdowns. By April 2020, Statistics Canada employment figures showed a loss of almost 800,000 tourism jobs. Rural and remote businesses that are the primary economic drivers in their areas report a significant impact not only on their own businesses but also on the communities where they operate.
How have your own travel plans and habits been impacted by COVID-19?
For the past several months, my team and I have been extremely busy helping our industry with much-needed support during the pandemic. We have been doing our part by working remotely and self-isolating. While this has been a period when we had limited time to pursue personal interests, we all believe it is important to find opportunities to rejuvenate and recharge our batteries. Many of us have been taking weekends to explore the beautiful Ottawa-Gatineau region, where our offices are located.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.