COVID-19: Canada’s tourism industry braces for impact amid coronavirus outbreak
Canada’s tourism industry is bracing for the impact of the novel coronavirus on the number of foreign visitors this summer travel season.
Some people in the industry are already seeing a change in the number of people coming from overseas, particularly from China — the second-largest long-haul market for Canada-bound tourists and where the outbreak began.
“Bookings are down from China by about 70 per cent between March and October, so that’s obviously quite considerable,” said Maya Lange, the vice-president of global marketing with Destination BC, a Crown corporation focused on attracting visitors to the province.
Several airlines have restricted the number of flights to the country, and some people have had difficulties getting visas due to temporary closures at some application centres.
Several Canadian tourism marketing agencies have pulled all their ad money from China and are using it to double down on efforts to attract people from other markets like the United States and United Kingdom.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 571,000 tourist arrivals from China in 2019.
“In the past, in any one of our markets, when exceptional circumstances have occurred, we have taken similar actions to ensure our tourism marketing efforts are impactful,” said Tess Messmer, a spokeswoman for Destination Canada, a Crown corporation focused on marketing Canada abroad.
The corporation said China remains an important market and it will still work with online travel agencies and travel media there.
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