The Global Business Travel Association Canada (GBTA Canada) welcomed the return of international travel (essential and non-essential) to Canada, for fully vaccinated travellers from across the globe.
While the Government of Canada loosened restrictions for international travel into Canada over the last several weeks, most business travel into the country continued to be considered ‘non-essential.’ These updated measures mark weeks of industry effort and cooperation with the government to implement a new policy that would once again allow for safe international business travel. With the new measures in place, GBTA Canada expects the return of business travel to once again be an economic enabler and deliver its previous social and economic benefits to Canadian individuals, companies, and the economy.
“The reopening of Canada’s border to international business travel is welcomed by individuals and companies inside and outside of Canada,” said Nancy Tudorache, Regional Vice President Canada of GBTA. “It is clear that business benefits in many ways from personal interactions, however, what isn’t clear is the social and economic benefit that comes from the travel itself.” According to GBTA data, the pandemic and associated travel restrictions resulted in a 90% decrease in business travel at the height of the pandemic, negatively impacted 600,000 jobs and reduced spending in Canada by $2.9 billion per month. This demonstrates the significant contribution business travel made to the economy prior to the pandemic. “The loss to the national economy in terms of tax revenue and the Canadian GDP is significant.” Tudorache added, “Whether it be a meeting for business development in Toronto, a site visit to a mine in Saskatchewan, or a meeting of animation professionals in British Columbia, the restrictions implemented at the beginning of the pandemic limited opportunities for businesses in Canada for over 500 days.”
The Global Business Travel Association recognizes that the pandemic is not over and is aware that the Delta variant is a serious concern to public health units across the country. Despite the challenges, air travel has been proven to be low risk with the requirement of full vaccinations, pre-arrival testing, the use of masks, social distancing throughout airports and other measures including advanced cleaning programs and air filters aboard aircraft. “Canadians and others around the world made many sacrifices to bring us closer to normal, especially in air travel. We are confident that health-minded improvements in air travel, in addition to policies requiring travellers to be fully vaccinated, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 across our borders,” said Tudorache. “Our next challenge is to ensure that Canadian business travellers have a simple vaccination certificate that is usable across Canada and internationally recognized.” GBTA looks forward to the return of safe international air travel and support from public leaders to develop a uniform vaccination accreditation that will simplify and facilitate domestic and international to the benefit of Canadian individuals and businesses, alike.