TORONTO — The urgent need for a clear roadmap for Canada’s recovery coming out of the pandemic, especially where travel is concerned, was underlined by a panel of travel industry executives including Air Canada’s President and CEO Michael Rousseau and WestJet’s VP Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs Andy Gibbons at a webinar yesterday presented by the Canadian Airports Council (CAC).
Rousseau and Gibbons were joined on the panel by airport executives Tamara Vrooman (YVR) and Philippe Rainville (YUL), plus David Goldstein (Travel Alberta) and Patrick Doyle (American Express GBT). The panel was hosted by Perrin Beatty with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and was part of the CAC’s 90-minute webinar on Air Travel Recovery in Canada.
While several provincial governments including Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Alberta have come out with with step-by-step reopening plans, the federal government has not, said Beatty. “The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been urging the government for a clear path for reopening,” he said. “But we’re still lacking a clear and predictable plan for the country.”
And as YVR’s Vrooman pointed out, a plan for reopening Canada’s borders isn’t just about the travel industry, it’s about Canada’s economic recovery overall. “I can’t speak strongly enough that this isn’t just related to our industry,” said Vrooman.
As the travel industry well knows, other countries and regions, including the U.S. and the EU, are reopening and, in the case of the EU and other countries, readying digital systems to confirm proof of vaccination, immunity through previous transmission of COVID-19, or negative tests.