BANFF, Alta. –
The last of Canada’s COVID-19 border restrictions are set to disappear at the end of this month, but some critics say they fear the measures have already caused a lasting decrease in cross-border travel.
Meredith Lilly, an associate professor at Carleton University and a former international trade adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, says her own research shows cross-border day trips by Canadians to the U.S. never fully recovered after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
She attributes that to the heightened U.S. border controls put in place after that event.
Lilley says the two-and-a-half years that mandatory vaccination, testing and quarantine requirements were in place for international travellers was likely long enough to change the habits of some Americans, who will now no longer consider visiting Canada in future.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that the number of international arrivals to this country increased in July even as they remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
The agency says the number of trips by U.S. residents in July was 2.2 million, 11 times the number of trips taken in July 2021 but still about sixty per cent of the trips reported in July 2019.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.