Thursday,  September 23, 2021  10:12 am

Heron: Ottawa’s travel update is just a “rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic”

Heron: Ottawa’s travel update is just a “rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic”
Dave Heron is Founder & General Manager of Pace Setter Travel & Tours Inc. in Okotoks, Alberta. (Supplied)
Dave Heron

It’s easier to enter the hermit kingdom of Kim Jong-un for purposes of tourism than it is for foreigners to vacation in Canada.

Like many, I, with bated breath, awaited Monday’s “breaking news” from Les Feds on the matter of relaxing the rules of engagement for our beaten and battered tourism industry.

Instead, I probably should have gone for a walk rather than listen in to a variety of ministers who, in essence, told us to take a hike.

Yes – the controversial three-day hotel quarantine will be scrapped on Jul. 5th for those “eligible” arrivals not exhibiting signs of malady such as weeping through multiple orifices. 

However, until we allow for vaccinated non-essential travellers to enter Canada, our travel industry remains locked in the basement.

And while the elimination of quarantine is a step forward of sorts when it comes to removing the shackles of snowbirds wanting to plan a Winter 2021/2022 getaway, two items that need to be addressed have not been.

For starters, our Ministers of Federal Wizardry have collectively decreed that uploading proof of vaccine into the ArriveCAN app will enable smooth re-entry.

However, there’s one slight hitch: Canada does not have any e-format proof of vaccine documents. Yet.

They’re talking about it, but for the time being, most folks are the proud owners of a note from their pharmacy that states: “Yep. This one’s been poked twice.”

Not that anyone wanting to skip the Club Fed Quarantine Hotel would even consider “creating” their own simplified 3x5 attestation, but…

And let’s not forget that in the court of public opinion, the concept of “vaccine passports” is about as popular as a turd in the punch bowl.

The second issue that we need to address has to do with “non-essential travellers,” which incidentally forms the backbone of Canadian tourism.

If you can’t fill an aircraft of vaccinated travellers coming in to Canada, it’s very unlikely that airlines are going to want to put themselves in a position of committing to a flight from Canada that’s doomed to return empty.

And Monday’s announcement of a “relaxing” of the rules still does nothing to allow anyone, other than essential travellers, Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents to enter our hallowed dominion.

At some point, our anointed officials are going to have to advise the great unwashed folks who elected them in the first place as to what constitutes any additional risk to public health and safety.

While I can appreciate them wanting to “have our backs,” there comes a point where the utter devastation to the financial well-being of this country transcends any benefit keeping us germ free might have.

If inoculations are seen as the key to safety and recovery, then let’s recognize that folks who were fully vaccinated from, say, authorities in the Great State of Montana, are of no greater risk to us whatsoever than those vaccinated in British Columbia.

And yet armed with a strong currency that’s burning a hole in their pockets, the good folks from Montana are still persona non grata.

I don’t profess to always be the sharpest tool in the shed but this one’s got me baffled.

We anxiously awaited an announcement with respect to an easing of the current restrictions.

What we got, instead, was a slight twist on how the same people who were allowed passage previously, will now conduct themselves at the border.

A rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic if you will.

C’mon, Feds. Let’s get this thing moving before we lose any remnants of what may be left of the 2021 season as well as any credibility for a much-hoped-for 2022 season.

Dave Heron is Founder and General Manager of Pace Setter Travel & Tours Inc. based in Okotoks, Alberta. This article originally appeared as a blog post on PaceSetterTravel.ca.  


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