Starting March 15, people travelling by air to Canada from visa-exempt countries need electronic authorization
By Madison Blanchard
Starting on March 15 people travelling by air to Canada from visa exempt countries will need electronic travel authorization.
The change comes as an attempt to bring the United States’s and Canadian systems closer together, but there is a concern it could put off would-be tourists and that could have an impact on P.E.I.’s tourism industry.
Pierre Coutin of Belgium is currently on an exchange program at UPEI until April and is planning on visiting Canada again after he goes back home.
The changes certainly wouldn’t help tourism to Canada, he said.
“This isn’t the best decision ever.”
The more difficulty and steps you put in front of people in order for them to enter a country is bound to put some people off, Coutin said.
As it now stands, anyone visiting from Belgium after March 15 will need to get a travel authorization for $7 in order to enter the country, even if they are only in Canada for 24 hours. In contrast, a Canadian who goes to Belgium can vacation there for up to three months without a visa.
That doesn’t mean Coutin thinks it will have a lasting impact on Canadian tourism.
“If someone really wants to come here, they will do it anyway. It won’t put off the people who really want to come to Canada.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Economics and Tourism, said the authorization will have minimum impact on island tourism because there are no direct flights from Charlottetown to any of the countries where it is required.