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Easing of travel restrictions won't open floodgates: Tourism Richmond

Tourism industry is planning next year as travel restrictions ease up.
New regulations allowing fully vaccinated international travellers to arrive in Canada without quarantining could bump up passenger volume at Vancouver International Airport. File Photo

Passenger volumes at Vancouver International Airport are only one-third what they normally are, but new regulations allowing fully vaccinated international travellers to arrive without quarantining could bump that up.

Quarantine requirements were eased as of midnight Monday for non-essential international travellers coming to Canada.

Nancy Small, CEO of Tourism Richmond, said, while the new federal regulations probably won’t open the floodgates for travel, it will lay the groundwork to give confidence that travelling is safe.

“It’s laying the pathway for someone to be able to come who’s fully vaccinated and then giving them the tools to travel safety,” Small said.

To be eligible, travellers must have allowed at least 14 days to pass since their last vaccine shot and show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that's no more than 72 hours old.

They are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.

Americans were allowed about a month ago to travel to Canada, giving a small boost to tourism in Richmond, Small said.  

At this point, those travelling to B.C. tend to be “motivated travellers” coming to see family and friends, Small said.

But the industry is already looking to next year when she expects the measures allowing international travellers to come to Canada to have an impact.

“This is an important step to rebuild our confidence, not only for the traveller but for the residents as well and then (we can) start talking about 2022 business,” Small said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, passenger volumes at YVR dropped by 90 per cent from a daily average of 90,000. Currently, there are about 33,000 passengers travelling through YVR every day.

- with files from Canadian Press