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

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

West Coast Duty Free president Gary Holowaychuk stands next to empty shelves inside his store on Tuesday (June 15). (Aaron Hinks photo)
Revenue down 97% at South Surrey duty free as owner waits for U.S. border to reopen

Products approaching best before dates had to be donated, others destroyed

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read