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Canada's tourism industry is focusing on the "summer of recovery" from the COVID-19 pandemic

Canada Day is the informal beginning of summer, and thetourismsector is in its first season in three years with fewCOVID-19. I hope it will be. Limitations will put together a coveted boost for the pandemic-stricken industry.

Recovery has been delayed as new COVID-19 variants and public health measures have blocked domestic and international travelers, but as cases diminish and restrictions are lifted, the country There are signs of recovery overall.

Some tour operators are scrambling to find staff to meet the surge in demand, and hotels report occupancy rates close to pre-pandemic levels.

"This summer will be a recovery summer," said Catherine Callary, Vice President of Tourism Ottawa.

Read more: 'Open to tourism again': Canada seeks recovery as COVID-19 travel rules are relaxed

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According to Statistics Canada, Canada's tourism industry's GDP has fallen 5.4% across the economy. In contrast, it decreased by nearly 50% in 2020.

While optimistic, Statistics Canada's latest figures show that recovery is far from complete.

Domestic tourism activity, which summarizes data such as travel movements and spending, decreased by 20% in March this year compared to 2019. Also, international tourism activity was 57% behind the pre-pandemic level.

Callary estimates that Ottawa has lost $ 3 billion in the tourism industry due to a pandemic. However, she said demand for hotel rooms has recovered and is now about 15 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

"Tour operators cannot recoup the revenue lost in the last two years. They are not the revenue they can recoup. But we can move forward and recover. You can, "she said.

Soaring fuel costs complicate summer travel plans in Saskatchewan – June 11, 2022

Off the coast of Newfoundland, we're back in the tourist-filled whale watching boat Atlantic. Mike Gatherall, director of Gatherall's Puffin and Whale Watch, south of St. John's, said the business is booming.

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The 38-year-old family has reached its banner year in 2019, Gatheral said. But 2022 exceeds those numbers.

He said bookings have increased by nearly 40%.

"(This year) I'm actually pretty busy so far. It's certainly a very healthy rebound for our work," he said.

Government support and careful financial planning have allowed companies to retain staff during the pandemic, Gatherall said. However, challenges still remain.

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Read more:Soaring gasoline prices Boosting Change Canada's Tourism: “Costs to Do Business”

Higher fuel costs are driving boats into higher costs. He also says that a shortage of rental cars can make it difficult for potential customers to travel from the city to the rural coast.

For the first time since the pandemic began, hotel occupancy exceeded 80% in June, said Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President of Destination Toronto.

Leisure trips are expected to accelerate recovery this summer, but he said it could take years for the city to see a full resurgence of large conferences. .. According to Weir, these events will be a huge boost to local businesses such as florists, catering companies and audiovisual companies.

"Visitors' economies haven't fully recovered until both of these engines are fully operational," he said.

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Peter Barra and Kawalta tourism see more action this summer Hope

Toronto's longtime walking tour guide Jason Kucherawi requested a local school group to arrange May and June excursions in April. Said flooded his company, Tour Guys.

After the business shrank to a skeleton business during a pandemic, he scrambled to find a guide and had to decline some requests this spring.

The company toured 15,000 people in Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto in 2019. This is a record year for a 14 year old company. By 2021, only 500 people were on the tour.

But so far, 1,000 people have been touring in May and June of this year alone, he said.

"And we're just entering our peak tourist season, so many bookings in the coming July and August due to people planning a trip to Canada. And for most of our business, it's American to us. That's three-quarters of our business, "said Kucherawy, president of the Toronto Tourist Guide Association.

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American travelers are back, hoping for a busy tourist season Brunswick Border Town – June 17, 2022

US residents made 759,600 trips to Canada in April this year. That's eight times that of April 2021, but less than half of the 2019 trip, according to the latest Statistics Canada figures for international arrivals.

American visitors are also slowly beginning to return to one of Prairie's most iconic attractions, said Daniel Wu, general manager of West Edmonton Mall. However, inflation has increased the cost of travel, so Mole has seen much of the business from the "staycation" crowd, either from within Alberta or from neighboring states.

"At this point, I'm sure we were at or better than the pre-pandemic state in terms of how the entire mall feels," Wu said. increase.

Vancouver's Squachize Lodge, an 18-room boutique hotel and art gallery run by the Vancouver Native Housing Society, booked only once in January 2021 and Caroline, the lodge's indigenous artist. Phelps said. Residence program.

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The hotel was primarily targeted at customers in the state before the pandemic, but cruise ships were British. I'm back in British Columbia. She said the beach attracted new tourists.

"Reservations will be made for the rest of the summer, even on weekdays," Phelps said. "We have a lot of cruise ship travelers staying."

© 2022 TheCanadian Press