Sask. pushing feds to reopen Canada-U.S. border as province prepares for summer travel
REGINA -- The provincial government is urging its federal counterparts to negotiate the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border ahead of the summer travel season.
The current non-essential travel restrictions with the U.S. have been in place since March, 2020 and are set to expire on June 21.
According to The White House, 52 per cent of Americans are fully vaccinated. The Saskatchewan government said those visitors should be allowed to cross into Canada.
“It’s a big part of what our tourism industry is based on, that we would have tourists from outside of Canada and we really, really want to see that happen,” said Trade and Tourism Minister Jeremy Harrison.
Tourism Saskatchewan echoed Harrison’s statement, saying the lack of cross-border travel is hurting Saskatchewan outfitters.
“Our core U.S. market are those clients of hunting and fishing outfitters, so with the border closed it’s a real challenge for people in the outfitting sector,” said Jonathan Potts, executive director of marketing and communications for Tourism Saskatchewan.
While some sectors are awaiting out-of-province travelers, others are gearing up for an increase in travel within the province. According to Tourism Saskatchewan, 82 per cent of Saskatchewan residents are willing to travel within the province this summer but most are not ready to cross borders just yet.
“We think that probably most of our visitors will be from Regina and of course, as long as the restrictions allow it, then other people from across Saskatchewan will absolutely be welcomed and we’re excited to have them back,” said Ryan Holota, vice president of operations at the Saskatchewan Science Centre.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada launched a campaign this week urging the federal government to negotiate the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the eventual easing of travel restrictions and quarantine rules will apply to those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
He added that the government will continue to consult with provinces about what they believe to be the most appropriate steps to easing restrictions.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Sarah Turnbull