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Canada And Australia Tourism Suffering As Many Countries Setting All Time Arrival Records

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The world has finally started to reopen this year, leading to some of the most intense travel demand ever seen. It’s made for a chaotic travel season, but it’s also meant that many countries and destinations are breaking tourism records. Croatia, Greece, Austria, Los Cabos, Cancun, and many other areas are smashing previous arrival records from before the pandemic. However, not all countries see the same tourism growth. Specifically, Canadian and Australian tourist arrivals are still much lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Man standing in toronto airport terminal looking out at planes

How Bad Is It?

Canada and Australia are both far below their pre-pandemic visitor counts, but Australia is the worst. Travel data shows Australian arrivals down by 65% when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Likewise, Canada is down by 31% compared to pre-pandemic levels when combining international air arrivals and land arrivals from the United States.

Brisbane airport in australia

What’s The Hold-Up?

Many countries around the world began dropping all Covid requirements as early as March in order to bolster tourism efforts. Canada and Australia were much more cautious in their approach. Both countries have had some of the harshest rules and regulations regarding Covid. The countries only recently started to ease requirements. Australia is now completely reopen but has only been that way for about a month. The country dropped all of its Covid entry requirements in early July, making it one of the slowest tourist destinations to do so.

Canadian sign stating quarantine requirement

Canada is worse regarding entry requirements and lagging far behind the most developed countries, as it still has several strict rules in place. Unvaccinated travelers still cannot visit Canada without compelling reasons, such as a death in the family. However, even if unvaccinated travelers can gain entry to Canada, they will be subject to Covid testing and a mandatory 14-day quarantine. As other countries completely strip away all Covid rules, Canada’s approach seems draconian. Especially after the continued loosening of guidelines from the CDC.

CDC guidance app on phone

Canadian Travel Woes

As if the strict measures weren’t bad enough, Canada has hit several other bumps on the road to tourism recovery. Most notably, Toronto Pearson International Airport is currently the worst airport in the world for flight delays. Between May 26th and July 19th, Pearson had 52.5% of their scheduled flights delayed. Travelers are aware of how bad delays and cancellations have been this summer, but Toronto Pearson takes the cake. If Covid entry requirements weren’t holding travelers off from a trip to Canada, the state of its largest airport certainly might be.

toronto pearson airport

Another significant roadblock for travel to Canada is the ArriveCAN app. The app was initially intended to serve as a Covid-19 screening app for travelers to prove their vaccination status before arrival. Non-compliant travelers were subject to delays, a quarantine, or even a $5000 CAD fine. The app has received criticism for privacy concerns and numerous bugs that have made its use frustrating for travelers.

ArriveCAN app on phone

Recently the app glitched out and told vaccinated travelers that they had to quarantine or face a $5000 CAD fine. Many travelers are unaware of the app or may not even have a smartphone. This leads to further delays at border control as short-staffed border control workers have to take time away to walk travelers through the app.

cars lined up at the U.S./Canada border crossing

The Bottom Line

Canada and Australia had some of the strictest responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and have been slow to ease Covid-era requirements. When compared to countries like Greece, which doesn’t even require travelers to quarantine after testing positive, Canada and Australia’s responses look especially harsh. Although Australia has reopened completely and Canada is partially open, travelers have not felt comfortable going back to these destinations.

Travelers may have lost trust in these destinations and fear getting caught up in the mix of freshly implemented travel restrictions on holiday. While many tourist destinations around the world continue to outpace previous arrival records, it looks like Canada and Australia will be waiting a long time for their recovery.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 18th of August 2022

I’m Canadian and I no longer see any tourists here. We used to get a lot of tourists from Europe before the lockdowns, but not anymore. Ironically, immigration from Asia is still allowed but not tourism. And I say this as someone who’s of Asian descent, it’s messed up that Canada is discouraging tourism yet fools people into immigrating here promising the best and instead serving up the worst.

Matthew E

Thursday 18th of August 2022

Gee, I wonder if there's some reason for this? What could it have been that these two countries did, or are still doing, that might make someone want to avoid them? We may never know.

I know this site has Canadian and Australian readers, and I wish them nothing but the best. I pray they don't take it personally when I say: Good. I hope these places have a complete collapse in tourism GDP. I hope it never recovers. It serves both of them right to be treated as international pariahs.

Maybe those responsible will learn something, but I'm not holding my breath...

Matthew E

Friday 19th of August 2022


That's why I said I wish them nothing but the best, and also why I mentioned "those responsible." Even the most casual observers know where to place the blame.

I'm not Canadian, and thus have no official say in your nation's affairs. I can't vote there, petition there, hold office there, or anything else. The only vote I have that counts in Canada is my money. My "nay" vote is denying my money to places that engage in conduct I object to.

I know that the results of falling tourism numbers will hurt work-a-day Canadians, and that's unfortunate. But I'm sorry, I'm not going to jump though a set of flaming hoops to visit...anywhere. I'm going to vote "no" by concentrating on places without those hoops. And I'm going to encourage others to do likewise. If there is a better way to effect change, I'd enjoy hearing about it.


Thursday 18th of August 2022

@Matthew E, It’s not our fault but the government’s. Canadians don’t want to be oppressed. There were tons of people protesting turdeau’s restrictions during the trucker convoy but they promptly had their bank accounts cut off and were jailed. The collapse in tourist GDP isn’t hurting Justin, but it’s the working class who are paying the price for the worst government in our country’s history


Thursday 18th of August 2022

A friend of mine - UK citizen who had lived in Sydney for 8 years at start of Covid but hadn't gotten her Permanent Residence yet - coincidentally was visiting family in the UK when the Covid nonsense started. It took her AN ENTIRE YEAR to get back in the country because she was not a citizen or PR yet. Even then she had to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a repatriation flight and quarantine for two weeks. So yeah Australia can go eff itself and I hope they don't see a dime of tourism money for years. I feel for everyone working in tourism there as it's not their fault, but such insane government overreach is rightly being punished.

No clot shot thanks

Thursday 18th of August 2022

Very good news and hopefully it stays like this for years. Australia is benefitting too much of its good geographical location, will see how it plays out.

Mexico is the only winter warm country which managed to fight against woke lunatics and keep the country open, although they had/have regional mask mandates inside the country.

First Asian country deserving our money is Vietnam. Not Thailand who is still demanding scam tests.

Philippines is out of the question even today.

I will show my gratitude for Vietnam in few months, when it gets cold here in UK.


Thursday 18th of August 2022

I hope nobody goes to Australia or Canada. For their insane covid restrictions they deserve to have their annual tourist count equal to zero.


Tuesday 30th of August 2022

@Adam, I just came back from Australia. It's essentially back to normal there. Australia deserves tourists, Canada does not. Also,what's the deal with the USA still banning the unvaccinated? Or Thais still wearing masks on TV, including the sign language interpreter? Australia suffered last year but they're doing well now. As someone who just visited Australia, Vietnam and Thailand, the busiest airport out of all three was Australia. My flight to Bangkok was switched to a smaller aircraft and even then it was barely half full, proving tourists aren't coming back to Thailand in any big numbers BUT the flight to/from Australia were both nearly full.