Limited travel to and throughout Canada is holding back the country’s economic recovery.
Restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus are expected to cost the country between 400,000 and 500,000 jobs in 2020, according to a study released Friday by Statistics Canada. The reduction in travel will shave off as much as C$37.1 billion ($28.2 billion) or 1.7% from total economic output during the year, the agency says.
The figures put a price tag on Covid-19 travel restrictions. Canada shut its borders to non-essential travel in March, and some provinces also restricted internal trips.
Justin Trudeau’s government is facing pressure to ramp up relief efforts for hard-hit airlines and the tourism sector, but the prime minister indicated he will keep borders closed as long as virus cases stay elevated in the U.S.
Statistics Canada’s estimates, which incorporate ranges of the most pessimistic and optimistic scenarios of reopening travel, include indirect impacts of travel restrictions on other industries. As tourism spending falls, so does “demand for intermediate products and services provided by other industries, such as wholesale and retail trade, utilities, food manufacturing, and other service industries,” the agency said.
Tourism spending in Canada plummeted by nearly two thirds in the second quarter.
The government plans to promote the country as a safe destination for international travel once the pandemic subsides. It has also launched a pilot program that offers Covid-19 tests to travelers arriving in Alberta in an effort to reduce quarantine times.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)