A group of British Columbia tourism industry groups are worried more damage could be done if the province decides to introduce a ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel.

Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia, Vivek Sharma says that there should be no reason why Canadians cannot continue to travel to B.C, as long as they follow provincial health orders. 

“A travel ban would further heighten the unnecessary fears, misperceptions and growing resentment by BC residents toward visitors as a result of actions aimed at our industry. The spread of COVID-19 is not tied to where people live, but how people behave. There should be no reason why Canadians cannot continue to travel to BC if they are tested, know and follow the rules, as well as practice health and safety protocols outlined by the PHO and implemented by all businesses.”

Ingrid Jarrett, President & CEO of the BC Hotel Association added to that and explains a travel ban would put a bad image on the province and hit the tourism industry when they are already down.

“We implore the province not to pursue an outright travel ban that would cause undue hardship on businesses, the workforce and our province’s stellar reputation as a welcome and safe place to visit. While now is not the time to encourage non-essential travel, banning visitors from other parts of Canada sends a strong and false message that visitors are to blame for rising transmission rates. Conversely, we need to work together with the government to convey the message that people visiting BC for whatever purpose must commit to our strict health and safety protocols.”

The response from the coalition comes after Premier John Horgan announced earlier this week that B.C is seeking legal advice to look at implementing a travel ban.

Coalition members are urging the government to steer away from the notion of a travel ban in favour of working with the industry and communities to educate visitors on their responsibilities to follow BC health and safety protocols, as well as expected individual behaviour.