Lifting border crossing requirements for Northern Ontario tourist operators can’t come early enough.
According to a press release by the tourism industry’s Northern Ontario Border Working Group, tourism operators in the north have lost more than $100 million in revenue due to border crossing requirements such as random COVID-19 testing, vaccination and use of ArriveCAN. .
The working group consists of Ontario Nature and Nature Tourism (NOTO), Destination Northern Ontario, and the Ontario Tourism Industry Association.
(NOTO) Executive Director Laure Marcil strongly supports the elimination of pandemic border restrictions and requirements.
“Vaccination requirements, ArriveCAN and random testing were the top three reasons international tourists choose resorts other than returning to Northern Ontario,” Marcil said in a press release released Friday.
“This spring, these border requirements have caused tourism businesses to report over $100 million in cancellations. “The Northern Ontario Border Working Group has been working with provincial and national partners for the past two and a half years to address economic issues and provide solutions to a restricted border.”
“Once these requirements are lifted, we will need the support of the Canadian Government to market to the world that Canada is re-welcoming all tourists.”
An open border for tourists is important, Marcil said, “Northern Ontario typically has about one million U.S. visitors a year and spends $466 million.
“Northern Ontario tourism is a $1.6 billion industry that attracts 9.2 million visitors, supports 24,000 jobs, and generates over $500 million in tax revenue.”
David MacLachlan, executive director of Destination Northern Ontario, said the working group has worked hard for more than two years to continually reduce and eliminate border restrictions to protect the tourism industry.
“These measures have charted their course and Canada must now align itself with other countries’ practices, level the playing field for tourism operators and fully welcome all tourists,” he said.
“These remaining restrictions continue to prevent United States tourists from traveling to Ontario, particularly via land ports, as the number of trips is about half that in summer in 2019. Closed border and ongoing border restrictions have hit the North. Ontario has been more severe in the last two and a half years than the rest of the state, as about a third is from the United States.
For the tourism industry in Ontario to truly recover, we need to remove the last barriers to travel that are severely limiting the number of international travelers choosing to travel to Ontario,” said Chris Bloore, President and CEO of the Ontario Tourism Industry Association.
“It’s time for Canada to follow the lead of our G7 colleagues and many of our international colleagues and scrap vaccine orders and end the mandatory use of ArriveCAN,” he said.
“We must always be alert to any emerging threats, but there is no scientific or public health justification for these measures to remain in place, and every extra day they stay in place is damaging the reputation and reputation of Ontario and Canada as a world-leading destination. ”
Bloore said that although the timing of lifting the remaining border crossing restrictions is delayed, at least Northern Ontario tourist operators will be able to fully market to all fall and winter tourists.
“The lifting of the remaining border crossing restrictions will be a clear indication that Northern Ontario is fully open to business and all tourists are welcome.”