The U.S. State Department’s new travel advisory urges Americans to “reconsider” travel to Canada following a report of “high” levels of COVID-19 infection by the Centers for Disease Control.
This latest development has caught Canada’s tourism and hotel associations completely off guard. “This was not on our radar.” Said Beth Potter, President and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of Canada.
“It’s like businesses got kicked while they were already down.”
What has changed?
Canada has been escalated to a Level 3 travel advisory. This comes just three weeks after being downgraded to level 2, which resulted in the border opening for Americans. No new restrictions are in place as of yet.
The decision comes as a surprise when you consider the vaccination rates of both countries. Canada is currently streets ahead the U.S. with almost 75 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated, compared with 61 per cent in America.
The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) expressed disappointment at the decision. Hotels are currently operating at more than 40 per cent below industry norms.
“This will only make things worse,” expressed Susie Grynol, President & CEO of HAC in a statement.
“Limited international tourism, combined with the reality that no major conventions or festivals are taking place and limited business travel, means that Canadian hotels will face another eight months like the last sixteen.”
Are Americans going to follow the travel advice?
The impact on tourism remains to be seen. However, as there was no actual increase in restrictions, the fallout is set to be minimal according to Flight Centre Spokeswoman Allison Wallace.
“The pent-up demand is evident both for people looking to get away and those wanting to see family/friends that live across the border,” said Wallace.
“Unless there’s a restriction put in place, we expect those Americans that planned to travel to Canada in the near future will continue with their plans.”
Wallace also said the tourism industry will have it’s eyes on the government as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the nation. The plan for now remains to reopen our international borders to vaccinated international travellers on Sept 7. Whether that does happen, remains to be seen.