Canadian airports see foreign travelers increase 14-fold after border opens: report – National

Canada has seen an increase in the number of international travelers entering the country as it relaxed COVID-19 measures and reopened its borders to fully vaccinated people earlier this year.

New figures released Friday by Statistics Canada for the month of October, showed 263,400 arrivals of non-residents at Canadian airports, representing an increase of more than 14 times compared to the same period last year.

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Of the foreigners who arrived in Canada last month, 114,200 were from the United States and 149,200 from other countries.

Starting August 9, Canada eased its travel restrictions – in place since March 2020 – allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country for non-essential purposes, without having to self-quarantine upon arrival.

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On September 7, the borders were opened again, allowing entry for foreign travelers from around the world.

Under the new measures, anyone entering the country must be fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by Health Canada and show proof of a negative PCR test performed no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight.

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The expected influx of Canadians using the land crossing to U.S. border towns did not materialize

The expected influx of Canadians using the land crossing to U.S. border towns did not materialize

This development is not surprising, given the huge safeguards in place ”and the adoption of national vaccination – almost 75 percentsaid Martin Firestone, a travel insurance broker in Toronto.

“I think it shows the confidence of traveling, quite frankly, that you come to an incredibly safe country, with higher immunization levels than most countries in the world,” he told Global News.

“There is that peace of mind for some that the person on the plane next to them is hopefully vaccinated,” he added.

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Allowing more Canadian airports – currently 10 – to accept international flights has also helped more passengers, Firestone said.

As of November 30, eight more airports in Canada will be open to international travel, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced earlier this month.

Firestone said the bottom line is that it is “much easier to travel and get here” compared to the previous year. “Travel is coming back bigger and better than ever,” he said.

Cross-border travel

Canadians also flew in greater numbers last month compared to the same time last year. More than 480,000 Canadian residents returned by air – more than eight times the traffic in October 2020. But that’s still about half the number from pre-pandemic levels in October 2019, according to the StatCan report. .

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Since Canada reopened its land border with the United States, car arrivals have also increased.

According to StatCan, U.S. residents made 412,200 trips to Canada in August. That number reflects more than double the ground traffic in July – the highest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

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However, land arrivals from the United States to Canada fell in October to 292,200 trips.

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Tourism industry calls for an end to PCR testing requirements

Tourism industry calls for an end to PCR testing requirements

Meanwhile, 207,600 Canadian residents drove back from the United States last month.

But since the U.S. land border was closed to Canadians until Nov. 8, Firestone has said many of its snowbird customers have to fly and make arrangements to have their cars shipped or hire vehicles.

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Although there is greater demand for travel than at the start of the pandemic, Firestone said the cost of a PCR test – up to $ 200 – to return to Canada prevents many Canadians from leaving.

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Another barrier is the lack of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 in Canada.

“As children under 12 are not vaccinated, you should always quarantine on your return,” Firestone said.

“This creates huge hesitation among families going anywhere during the holiday season.”

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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