Q: When will the border re-open and how can I keep up with all the travel advisories?

On July 19th, the Government of Canada announced that effective September 7, the Government of Canada will open its borders for discretionary travel by fully vaccinated travellers from any country who meet specific entry requirements.

In order to manage the anticipated influx of travellers, and recognizing our shared border and relationship with the U.S., Canada will begin allowing entry to fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents (currently residing in the US) for discretionary travel as of August 9. If they meet the entry criteria, fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival to Canada.

This is great news for Canada and our tourism sector. For the full announcement, please see the Government of Canada press release. 

For the latest information on travel to Canada including the updated federal requirements and restrictions, please visit the Government of Canada website.

Q: What requirements will be in place for travellers?

For the latest information on travel to Canada including the updated federal requirements and restrictions, please visit the Government of Canada website and check out Government of Canada backgrounder specific to this announcement.

Travel to Canada is going to be different than it was prior to the pandemic. We encourage all travellers to be fully informed of the pre-entry and on-arrival public health and testing requirements both federally and provincially. This includes the mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app. Travellers should plan for extra time in the lead up, and upon the arrival of their trip.

It’s also important that travellers be aware of local restrictions and health guidelines. Please visit your travel destination’s website for those guidelines, or Destination Canada’s COVID-19 Guidance for Travellers page, including a user-friendly Interactive Map that shows current travel requirements by province and territory for leisure or business travel.

Q: Can visitors come to Canada with their kids even if they are unvaccinated?

Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age of fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to complete a 14 day quarantine, but must follow strict public health measures. This means they can move around with their parents, but must avoid group settings - such as camps or daycares - during the first 14 days after their arrival. Unvaccinated children will remain subject to the Day 1 and Day 8 testing requirements. Provinces and territories may have more stringent rules around people who have recently returned from travel. More details will be available in the coming days.

Destination Canada is not involved in the implementation of border restriction policy and cannot answer specific questions on the new regulations. The official source for travel information is the Government of Canada’s FAQ and contacts page, which we encourage you to visit in addition to their backgrounder.

Q: Is Canada/Canadians ready to welcome travellers back?

Team Canada is ready to go. The travel industry has invested billions in health and hygiene protocols, retraining staff, and reconfiguring experiences to prepare for visitors.

Travel to Canada is going to be a little different than it was prior to the pandemic and we encourage all travellers to be fully informed of the pre-entry and on-arrival public health and testing requirements both federally and provincially. This includes the mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app. Travellers should plan for extra time in the lead up, and upon the arrival of their trip.

In terms of Canadians level of welcome - our weekly tracking shows that Canadians are becoming increasingly more open to welcoming back international visitors. Our warm and diverse people, vibrant cities and cultures, and incomparable natural beauty await those looking for meaningful travel experiences to reconnect with what’s important today.

Q: Is Destination Canada ready to market Internationally?

We have been working closely with our in-market teams globally to ensure that Canada stays top-of-mind during the pause and we continued to cultivate our global travel trade and travel media relationships. Team Canada is absolutely ready to go and we look forward to welcoming back travellers from the US on August 9 and the rest of the world on September 7.

Q: What are key things we should be focusing our efforts on?

It is important that we all make it clear that Canadians can feel confident in making travel plans as tourism businesses throughout Canada have made huge investments in new hygiene protocols. The health and well-being of tourism employees and guests is paramount.

We continue to share our weekly analysis of each region’s travel restrictions and local residents’ sentiment towards tourists. This can help you make evidence-based decisions when it comes to marketing to Canadians right now.

Q: Do you have any resources we can provide Canadians with information about travel considerations?

We have created a user-friendly Interactive Map on KeepExploring.com that shows current travel restrictions and safe travel requirements by province and territory, among many other resources and travel inspiration offered for travellers on the website.

Q: I am a travel advisor and am trying to learn more about the Canada offering – how can I learn more so I can sell effectively?

Destination Canada has a history of working with travel advisors in our international markets, helping them sell Canadian experiences to inbound travellers. As a result, we have been able to pivot quickly to capture valuable training resources and share this knowledge with domestic travel advisors, who may not be as familiar with selling Canada to their clients.

The Canada Specialist Program is intended to be a one-stop resource for travel advisors in Canada, to help them learn about the destinations, understand travel restrictions, and connect them with the tour operators.

More details on our Canada Specialist Program is available on our website: canadaspecialist.ca

Q: What are some travel trends you see seeing?

Destination Canada’s research shows that our cities have been hardest hit by the pandemic. We also know our audience is driven by the following travel experiences, therefore we want to showcase that these types of activities are available within and near our great cities:

  • Hiking or walking in nature
  • Trying local food and drink (breweries and wineries in particular)
  • Natural attractions and nature parks
  • Viewing wildlife or marine life
  • Art galleries or museums

We know Canadians will be travelling further afield and we want them to use major cities as gateways. We want them to stay longer in cities before exploring further and also realize that many cities are on the edge of nature.

Q: What are the most important elements for the recovery of the industry besides human resources and sanitary measures?

There are many important elements for recovery of the industry but the number one thing we need is for Canadians to keep their holiday dollars in Canada this year to speed up our sector’s recovery. We encourage you to do whatever you can to channel domestic demand to your business and we are doing the same.

To help do this, we need to do the following:

  1. Increase Canadians’ understanding of the importance of Canada’s tourism industry.
  2. Inspire confidence and desire to travel domestically – this includes showcasing all of the extensive health and hygiene protocols you’ve put into place and also reminding Canadians what a beautiful country we live in!
  3. Re-ignite the welcoming spirit of Canadian communities – to ensure they feel ready to welcome visitors back again.
Q: How does DC work with the provinces and territories? How can I get involved with Destination Canada and upcoming campaigns?

We work closely with our provincial and territorial counterparts and keep them up-to-date on all marketing plans and provide opportunities for collaboration whenever possible keeping in mind equal representation from across the country. We want to ensure we are supporting ongoing efforts and not duplicating.

It is crucial that you stay connected to your PTMO to stay apprised of all plans and opportunities within your local region.

Q: As the national marketing organization, how are you going to make sure communities are front and centre as you plan for the future?

Going forward, we will be using a new yardstick for Canada’s tourism industry – one that measures whether tourism is creating net benefits for our country. As we re-build our industry, we are focused on four pillars that will enable us to compete more effectively and win the customers we want. Building on existing strengths in marketing and research, we are carving out a new strategic role in destination development. We will look to work with businesses across the country in these efforts.

Q: When will tourism in Canada reach pre-COVID levels, and what are we doing to help engage international travellers and inspire them to travel to Canada when restrictions are lifted?

Destination Canada’s recent forecasts that best case we are back to 2019 levels by 2024 – but that depends heavily on a big domestic year in 2022 and heavy international travel taking place by 2023.

A large part of that will be how we are able to communicate the willingness of Canada to welcome visitors, how we manage the pandemic in Canada and globally, and how we are able to promote the experiences that we have to offer.

We are working closely with our in-market teams globally to ensure that Canada stays top-of-mind and we are maintaining our global travel trade and travel media relationships.

Q: How will Destination Canada promote the actual tourism businesses to get the travellers closer to the cash register and make a transaction?

We launched our Travel Offers page which has hotel, air, and rail offers as well as city and activity passes, special offers and deals within the choice of city and Indigenous experiences through ITAC too. These all link directly through to our partners pages. We also created a Package Portal with bookable packages form partners from across Canada.

Q: How can I best manage my business during COVID?

Canadians can feel confident in making travel plans as tourism businesses throughout Canada have made huge investments in new hygiene protocols. Do whatever you can to highlight the upgrades you’ve done and that the health and wellbeing of your guests is paramount.

We also know our audience is driven by the following travel experiences, therefore we suggest showcasing that these types of activities are available if applicable:

  • Hiking or walking in nature
  • Trying local food and drink (breweries and wineries in particular)
  • Natural attractions and nature parks
  • Viewing wildlife or marine life
  • Art galleries or museums