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The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable ("The Roundtable") is urging the federal government to immediately release an implementation plan based on the recommendations made in the COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel (Expert Panel) report, presented to the federal government last week. Canadians are doing their part in getting vaccinated; now it is time to provide clear, timely, and safe guidance on reopening travel and reuniting families and friends.
The Expert Panel was convened by the federal government to provide independent, science- and data-driven recommendations to the federal government on testing, border restrictions and quarantine measures. The report recommends eliminating quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers, implementing changes to testing and screening, and eliminating the hotel quarantine policy.
With increasing vaccination rates and decreasing case counts, it is time for the federal government to announce a plan to implement the recommendations of the Expert Panel. Just as it was important to quickly put in place measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians at the start of the pandemic, it is of equal importance to remove restrictions that are no longer necessary.
The travel and tourism sector has worked tirelessly over the course of the pandemic to put in place measures that ensure the health and safety of travellers across the country. Further, Canadians have diligently followed public health restrictions by staying home and avoiding non- essential travel. Given the advances in science and safety, as well as the dramatic progress on vaccination in Canada, the safe restart of travel must be planned.
Many provincial governments have taken a scientific approach to reopening based on metrics, including vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity. As our economy begins to reopen, based on these metrics, one important catalyst for our recovery will be travel.Travel enables businesses to grow and thrive, and also provides a lifeline for Canadians to maintain essential links to family and friends.
The Roundtable encourages the government to implement a vaccination certification process in line with global standards. The upcoming G7 discussions present an opportunity for Canada to work with the international community toward a common approach.
The Roundtable looks forward to working together with government to continue to improve safety standards and protocols. As part of that work, we encourage the government to heed the advice of its experts to:
- Eliminate the government hotel quarantine for all travellers;
- Eliminate pre-departure tests and quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers;
- Reduce quarantine for partially vaccinated travellers (after a test upon arrival) and unvaccinated travellers (after a test taken at day 7);
- Amend border measures in stages; and,
- Put in place a system to validate proof of vaccination for arriving travellers as soon as possible.
About the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable
The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector - including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, boards of trade and chambers of commerce across the country - committed to working together to restart the sector smoothly and safely. Travel and Tourism is a $102 billion sector, employing millions of Canadians across the country and accounting for 2.1% of the country's gross domestic product. It advocates for a safe and prosperous tourism and travel sector across Canada.
Jim Byers was travel editor for five years at the Toronto Star, which has the largest travel section in North America. He has...
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