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Published on : Monday, February 7, 2022
Tourism operators in Newfoundland and Labrador agree that the province’s loosened travel restrictions are a great help for the struggling industry, but some wonder if it will be enough.
As of Saturday, fully-vaccinated travellers no longer have to isolate upon their arrival in the province, however travellers still have to take a rapid COVID-19 test daily for five days after their arrival.
Clarah Germain, the director of the rooms division in the Alt Hotel in downtown St. John’s said It’s great news for them it’s great news for Newfoundland.
Germain said the move will increase the number of business travellers coming to the province. She said business travellers often don’t stay for very long, so even a short isolation period is a major deterrent to that clientele.
Future still uncertain, says tourism operator
But for tourism operators who don’t deal with business travellers, the loosened restrictions might not do much to improve the bottom line.
English said last summer, his inns were only at 20 per cent of their normal occupancy and he said he’s now getting cancellations for tours that were first booked two years ago.
With tourism trade shows gearing up in the next couple of weeks, English said the provincial government should expand their tourism ad campaigns as soon as possible.
Despite his concerns, English said the recently loosened restrictions are “absolutely essential” for the industry. He said he’s getting a lot of good feelings from potential tourists and there’s a pent-up demand for travel.
If people are sitting around planning their vacations, which is what they’re doing this time of year, they need to know that Newfoundland is a possibility.
‘Locked and loaded for tourists’
Barry Rogers, the captain, owner and operator of Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours in St. John’s and Twillingate, said his company has increased their own social media campaigns to attract tourists to the province, and he feels it shouldn’t be the government’s responsibility to support the industry.
He said the loosened restrictions have him looking forward to a better season and he hopes the summer season will bring some heavy traffic to his tours.
Rogers said it’s good to have the province open to tourists now, as people around the world are preparing to travelling again.
He said Newfoundland and Labrador remains a bucket list destination for many travellers, and he’s hopeful a lot of tourists will be crossing the province off their list this year.