National Newswatch

The tourism and hospitality sector has been among those most severely affected by the pandemic. With uncertainty over the Omicron variant persisting, the federal minister responsible for the industry said the return of international travellers could still be a long way off.

“During the darkest days of the pandemic, Destination Canada, which normally takes its money and markets Canada to the rest of the world, took that money and marketed inside Canada, to travel,” Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault told CBC News.

“I think to at least [the third quarter] of 2022, we’re going to have to see more of that.”

In Canada, domestic travellers account for 78 per cent of tourism spending. But international visitors spend an average of $1,047 per trip, while domestic vacationers spend less than a quarter of that.

“Domestic travel is a crucial step to getting our industry back up and running but [it] will not be able to fill the revenue gap from the halt of international travel,” Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, told CBC News.

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