The federal government’s sudden announcement of new COVID-9 testing rules for Canadians returning from international travel has caught many off-guard, but a University of Guelph tourism expert says in a quickly evolving pandemic, tourists should not be surprised.
Dr. Marion Joppe, a professor in U of G’s School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, researches many aspects of the travel industry, including the various motivations for travel and the economic, social and environmental impacts of the tourism industry.
She said many Canadians planning travel outside the country may be taken aback by the new requirements that they present a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed back into the country.
“People who ignore the pandemic only have themselves to blame when they are caught flatfooted by the new requirements,” she said.
Joppe recognizes that producing such test results will be a challenge.
“Getting a test in many destinations will be difficult, if not impossible, because the health care system in poorer countries simply isn’t equipped to deal with increases in testing needs. And why should a tourist get priority over a local resident who needs to be tested?” she said.
Joppe noted that at the moment, there’s a “hodgepodge” of rules around COVID testing and travel, with some airlines and airports requiring and performing tests and others not.
“Ideally, there would be more coordinated action at the international level,” she said, but added that’s difficult given that the global pandemic situation — and the virus itself — is still changing.
Joppe is available for interviews.
Prof. Marion Joppe