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Testing Rules Considered A Barrier To Drive Canada-U.S. Tourism

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Niagara Falls, Ontario and Buffalo, New York, are exerting more efforts to improve cross-border tourism, a report said.

“That’s all been disrupted,” said Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher. “It’s critical to get it back as normal as possible, as soon as possible.”

Gallagher and other experts claim they believe that “normal” will not happen for as long as Canadians must submit a negative test before returning to Canada after a border crossing visit to the United States. 

On Monday, the US-Canada land border re-opened.

“This testing thing is onerous, but hopefully, people will think it’s worth the weekend to come down and spend some time here on everything they miss doing,” said Gallagher and shared that 10 percent of Buffalo Bills season ticket holders are Canadian. “What that stops are those spontaneous trips back and forth.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati agreed, saying he was “glad that we’re on the right trajectory. But there are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out”.

“Specifically, the PCR testing requirement upon entry or re-entry into Canada. That is definitely going to be an encumbrance.”

Diodati shared that he held a remote meeting with local members of the Congress early Monday, to explain how governments can make it easier for people to cross the border.

Prior to the outbreak, Canadians pumped more than $1 billion annually into the economy of Buffalo, and 13 percent of the people who departed from the Buffalo airport came from Canada.

Many Canadians own properties in Florida and other states.

“Although it is a positive step, it is just embroiled in tremendous confusion,” said Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agents.

The travel industry isn’t yet anticipating a sudden influx of travel South.

“We still have the PCR test requirement, which is an incredible challenge and barrier from an expense perspective and from a logistics perspective,” Paradis said.

Diodati would like to see the Public Health Agency reconsider the test.

“It’s been beyond devastating: 40,000 people count on tourism to feed their families,” the official said.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 598,000 land-based trips to Canada in August. In August 2019, 2.3 million land trips were made from the U.S. to Canada.

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