The current travel-related restrictions between Canada and Mexico are costing U.S. businesses close to $1.5 billion a day in “travel exports,” according to the U.S. Travel Association. Travel exports are defined as spending by foreign residents while visiting the U.S.
President Joe Biden’s administration announced a major retooling of the rules governing international travel and COVID-19, while at the same time extending the travel ban at the Canada-U.S. border – a restriction the Canadian government began easing over the summer for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
According to CFJC Today, Canada, meanwhile, is still the largest single U.S. export market, accounting for nearly 18 percent of all American goods sent out of the country last year. The two countries trade $1.7 billion worth of goods and services each day, for a total of $614.9 billion in 2020.
“My constituents are deeply frustrated by this, particularly given the trade and the relationships that people have across the border,” Michigan Senator Gary Peters said last week during national security hearings with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, reports CBC Canada.
“We are very mindful of the economic consequences, and not only the economic consequences but the consequences on family members who haven’t seen one another for quite some time,” Mayorkas replied.
Citing the continued spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus, Mayorkas said “is not yet where we need it to be” in the U.S., assing that there are communities near the U.S.-Mexico border that are also suffering as a result of the closure.
However, Tori Barnes, executive vice-president of public relations and policy for the U.S. Travel Association said it was “very jarring” to consider the discrepancy in crossing the Canada-U.S. border by land.
“It is very stark that we’re in a situation here where we’ve got Canada fully reopened, and from a U.S. perspective, you can only come in if you fly in,” Barnes said. “It’s obviously significantly negative to the U.S. economy as well, and that’s something that we’ve continued to articulate.”
Data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) suggests the U.S. economy continues to endure financial hardship due to current inbound travel restrictions, with potential monthly losses of more than $1.2 billion from the U.K. market alone.
“The U.S. economy and global ranking in GDP contribution is at risk with every day the U.S. borders remain closed to travelers,” WTTC President Julia Simpson said.