Justin Trudeau has confirmed that the federal government has begun looking at ways to restart travel in Canada and reopen to tourists from abroad.
After delivering a virtual keynote address on Monday, June 7, the prime minister told attendees that any international visitors would have to be fully vaccinated before being allowed to enter the country.
While Trudeau repeated that his first priority is to protect Canadians from a fourth wave of COVID-19, he acknowledged that Canada's high vaccine uptake would be "reassuring to a lot of people who maybe want to travel but don't want to be putting their families at risk."
Although he made it clear that "we're not going to get ahead of ourselves," the PM added that a gradual relaxing of travel restrictions is currently being discussed by the feds.
"We are looking at how we're going to start welcoming up tourists in a phased way as the numbers come down in Canada, as the numbers start to come down in the United States and elsewhere around the world," he added.
In its latest report, the federal government's expert COVID-19 advisory panel also recommended that some of Canada's travel rules be discontinued or updated, including the mandatory hotel quarantine period.
When is travel likely to restart in Canada?
The federal government is yet to confirm any dates, although Trudeau has suggested that Canadians could be travelling again by the summer "if everything goes well."
Right now, Canada's international borders remain closed to all non-essential travellers from the U.S. and other countries until at least June 21, 2021.
While the PM has revealed that discussions about reopening are ongoing, he said that 75% of Canadians would need to be vaccinated before the feds would consider easing travel restrictions.
"We'll make our decisions based on the interests of Canadians and not based on what other countries want," he said earlier this month.
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