TO GO OR NOT TO GO: Canada extends COVID 19 restrictions on international travel

It’s not good news for Canadian tourism and travel – inbound or out. The federal government is extending travel restrictions by one month to September 30, to limit the spread of COVID-19. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are returning home to Canada will continue to be subjected to strict quarantine measures.

Travellers coming to Canada will still be asked whether they have a cough, fever or are having difficulty breathing.

New arrivals are required to quarantine for 14 days if they don’t have symptoms, or isolate for 14 days if they do.

Canada has taken steps to stem the flow of foreign nationals into the country by restricting discretionary travel, including for tourism, recreation and entertainment.

What this necessitates (obviously) is that both Canadians returning from travel out of the country, and tourists visiting Canada, add an additional 14 days to their vacation. For people working from home that may not prove to be a huge inconvenience, but for those still, or once again, going to an office, your seven or 14 days of vacation time just turned into 21 or 28 days.

The question then is – will they travel or not?

The extended time now required for travel may not be feasible, or affordable, and the aviation and tourism industries don’t like it.

The National Airlines Council, a trade group that represents Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Jazz Aviation, continue to push for eased travel restrictions. The Canadian carriers called for a more targeted approach to quarantines. It asked the federal government to end the blanket ban on foreign travellers – reciprocal bans are not in place for Canadian travellers to many countries – and the two-week self-isolation required of all Canadians returning from abroad, regardless of country of origin.

The council and Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu have also demanded a more consistent approach to domestic restrictions, as the four Atlantic provinces continue to enforce a travel “bubble” that requires a two-week quarantine for those arriving from outside the region.

The pandemic has been devastating for the airline industry, with little sign of a quick rebound in the near future.

Canadian airline revenues in 2020 will fall by $14.6 billion or 43 percent from last year, according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association.

Passenger revenues at Air Canada dropped 95 percent year over year in its second quarter, prompting 20,000 layoffs as the airline burned through $19 million per day. WestJet announced more than 3,300 layoffs in June.

“It’s a very dark picture,” said Jacques Roy, a professor of transport management at HEC Montreal business school.

“The most profitable period of an airline is the summer. We’re right into it now. They will be bleeding hard during that period. The other months that are not as profitable will probably be even worse than you’ve seen in the past.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet that the extension is “to limit the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

 

Source: Travel Industry Today
TO GO OR NOT TO GO: Canada extends COVID 19 restrictions on international travel

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