Canada Welcomes 1 Million Visitors in a Week for First Time Since Pandemic

Skift grip

Canada was one of the more cautious countries when it came to Covid and inbound visitors. Restrictions eased and delighted tourism businesses quickly discovered how much their country missed the world.

Tom Lowry

Canada attracted more than a million travelers in a week for the first time since the pandemic, government data showed on Friday, as the easing of border restrictions related to COVID-19 encouraged visitors to return to the country.

As Canada heads into its peak summer holiday season, tour operators are betting the recovery seen in the first week of April would pick up speed. Tourism has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

“People are ready to spend more after being stuck at home for two years and wanting to stay in high-end properties in case COVID is still around,” said Alla Weintraub, luxury travel advisor for F1S. “People think these hotels will take better care,” she added.

Canada had imposed some of the strictest border measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, but after Ottawa dropped the requirement for COVID tests for vaccinated travelers starting in April, tour operators began to see a increase in bookings.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said more than one million travelers were admitted into the country during the week of April 11. However, the number of visitors has decreased by around 44% compared to the period from April 15 to 17, 2019.

“Our phones have gotten busier, it’s given people more confidence. We’re still cautious, but it’s encouraging,” said Elyse Mailhot, Marketing and Communications Manager at Discover Canada Tours.

Rising travel demand is expected to be a theme when Air Canada releases quarterly results next week.

Tourism spending in Canada rose 4.4% in 2021 to C$50.8 billion ($40 billion) from 2020, while it fell 49% from 2019, according to official data released in March. In 2021, tourism accounted for 4.1% of Canada’s GDP.

As tours multiply, it has become difficult to find talent to lead them. “I think people have moved on to other industries,” Mailhot said. “Even the students seem to be more difficult.”

($1 = 1.2711 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Jenna Zucker; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

This article was written by Jenna Zucker of Reuters and has been legally licensed through Industry Dive Content market. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].