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

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read