Tourism industry suffering as Saskatoon, Regina airports not allowed to accept American travellers
The federal government’s decision to open only select airports to U.S. travellers beginning Aug. 9 has left some Saskatoon businesses on the sidelines.
“We’re surprised that we don’t have a point of entry from the U.S. which is one of our major markets when it comes to tourism but also to trade and export,” said Stephanie Clovechok, CEO of Tourism Saskatoon.
As the calendar flips closer to fall and winter, the peak of hunting and fishing season in Saskatchewan, Clovechok said she hopes Transport Canada adds Saskatoon and Regina to the list.
“Hunting and fishing is primarily the greatest concern given that we’re two months away from the season opening and that’s pretty impactful for Saskatoon given that the majority of passengers will travel into Saskatoon and stay a night at one of our hotels,” she said.
She also said summer leisure travel will take a hit.
'PENT UP DEMAND'
International flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
In an email to CTV News Transport Canada said the selection of these airports was based on factors “including the short-term operational capacities of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Border Service Agency, the volumes of passengers and the capacity of these airports to act as relief valves to the four major airports.
“Consideration will be given to adding additional airports in the future as conditions dictate; that is: based on demand, operational capacity, the epidemiological situation in Canada and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency,” Transport Canada said.
Jaime Milton said her company, UniGlobe International, has seen a steady increase in business since June when the province announced restrictions would expire July 11.
“Our number of travel inquiries are back to pre-pandemic levels, although bookings are lagging a little bit behind as there is still some hesitancy and uncertainty regarding future travel restrictions,” Milton said.
“There is definitely a pent up demand for travel and we are seeing some peak travel dates already starting to fill up.”