Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks between buildings in the Parliamentary precinct in Ottawa on Friday May 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks between buildings in the Parliamentary precinct in Ottawa on Friday May 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau says government looking at plan for return of international tourists

Anyone coming to Canada would need to be fully vaccinated before arriving, PM said

The federal government is looking at taking a phased approach to welcoming back international visitors as pandemic restrictions loosen, focusing on case counts globally as part of decision-making, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

Federal officials have looked to restrict movement of non-essential travellers for more than a year, even banning at times direct flights from countries like India and the U.K. as variants of COVID-19 have raised concerns.

Trudeau said he expects high interest from overseas travellers to visit Canada as those restrictions eventually ease because of vaccination uptake rates and case counts that are better than peer countries.

Anyone coming to Canada would need to be fully vaccinated before arriving, Trudeau said during an afternoon event, because the country can’t risk another wave of COVID-19.

A fourth wave would be devastating to businesses and the morale of the country, Trudeau said.

He added the government is looking at ways to start welcoming back visitors from abroad as case counts come down at home, in the United States and elsewhere around the world to keep Canadians safe, but also help the country’s beleaguered tourism sector.

“Not only have we managed to keep case counts low and manage throughout this pandemic in most parts of the country, but we are also extremely high in terms of vaccination numbers, and that is going to be reassuring to a lot of people who maybe want to travel but don’t want to be putting their families at risk,” Trudeau said in a virtual appearance at an event hosted by the St. John’s Board of Trade.

“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,” he added a moment later. “We are looking at how we’re going to start welcoming up tourists in a phased way as the numbers come down in Canada, as the numbers start to come down in the United States and elsewhere around the world.”

Tourism ministers around the world have spoken for months about how to restart international tourism that has plunged because of the pandemic, with new rules landing just as summer travel season is set to pick up and fuelled by pent-up travel demand.

The European Union is allowing travellers from a handful of countries to visit the continent this summer, and several of the bloc’s members have their own rules layered on top of that about who needs a COVID-19 test before arrival.

First, though, provincial travel restrictions need to loosen. Federal and provincial tourism ministers have previously agreed to first promote travel within regions, once it is safer to do so, then within provinces, before ultimately attracting international visitors.

“Canadians are going to be really keen on tourism, on getting out there, on leaving their community,” Trudeau said.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for people who aren’t quite yet comfortable travelling around the world.”

April’s federal budget promised an injection of $1 billion over three years, starting this fiscal year, for the tourism and festival industry forced to close or cancel events because of public health measures. Some of the budget money will go to help cover the costs of innovative solutions to connect with festivalgoers and help hard-hit downtown cores by extension.

—Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Canada to require negative COVID-19 test at land borders

CoronavirusFederal PoliticsTourism

Just Posted

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A heart of ribbons is seen on the fence of Highroad Academy along Chilliwack Central Road on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Orange Heart Memorial campaign launches in Vernon on National Indigenous Peoples Day

North Okanagan Friendship Center raising funds for bench, mural memorializing 215 discovered in Kamloops

Most Read