After announcing a national vaccine passport for travel, Canada has taken another big step towards the resumption of international travel by lifting its global non-essential travel warning that has been in place since the pandemic began.
Canada Lifts Non Essential Travel Warning
Canada issued a global ‘do not travel’ advisory after the pandemic began in March 2020. Now the government has announced that it will be lifting the global advisory following a successful vaccination campaign.
“The beginnings of the transition away from the more blanket approach really recognizes vaccines are very effective at preventing severe outcome,” Chief Medical Officer Theresa Tam said at a briefing.
The government of Canada’s website now shows advisories for each destination country, as it did prior to the pandemic.
The announcement is welcome news for the travel industry. Canada has been slower than other countries to remove its blanket advisory against international travel, frustrating tour operators trying to survive.
“You cannot believe how welcome this move is for us,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Canadian-based international tour operator G Adventures.
“It’s very late, as far as I’m concerned, given what’s going in the rest of the world. But very welcome, that’s for sure.”
Canadian Government Still Advising Against Cruise Ship Travel
While the global travel ban is lifted, the Canadian government still advises against cruise ship travel outside of the country. Lesley Keyter, founder and chief executive At The Travel Lady Agency in Calgary, says this will continue to affect Canada’s travel agency industry negatively.
“I’m desperately disappointed that they’re taking away the blanket ban, but they’re still keeping this Level 4 advisory for the cruises”
“Honestly, having been on two cruises in the last couple of months, I felt safer on the cruise than I did on my overnight hotel in Toronto.”
Canada Will Issue Country Specific Warnings To Help Canadians Decide Where To Go
Tam said the government will be providing more specific information about the severity of Covid-19 in various countries to help Canadians decide where they should consider traveling.
She said it was too soon for the government to give a “blanket” recommendation on all travel but said being fully vaccinated and assessing the level of the pandemic was key to any potential decision on where to go.
“Now is not the time to just freely go wherever.”
Dr. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief public health officer, said that Canadians should ask themselves a series of questions before they plan to travel abroad.
Njoo urged Canadians to assess the “epidemiological situation” of Covid-19 in any potential travel destination “because there is great variation between different countries and even within countries, as we’ve seen here in Canada.”
They should also look at the level of vaccination rates in those countries “because that’s an indication of what community transmission in that region may be.”
He said that Canadian travelers should also ask themselves what activities they want to do when they get to another country.
“For example, if you’re going to go on solitary nature hikes, that’s one thing. But if you’re thinking of going on a cruise with a lot of people in an enclosed space, that’s another thing,” said Njoo.
Canadians should also weigh the “culture for individual protection measures,” such as whether masks are commonly worn or not.
“We know that the situation is not the same in all parts of the world. There are regions in the world that are still suffering from the severe consequences of Covid-19.”
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com