December 6, 2021
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) President and CEO Deborah Flint spoke last week at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) Tourism Congress on the vital role that aviation plays in fostering a flourishing tourism industry. Ms. Flint joined transportation leaders that included Vince Accardi, President and CEO, Motor Coach Canada; Joseph Adamo, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Transat; Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO, VIA Rail Canada; and Lineke Kereluk, Vice President, Rentals, Fraserway RV in a panel moderated by Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Flint took the opportunity to remind attendees that while it’s no secret that the aviation industry—and by extension tourism—has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months, air travel’s pre-pandemic contribution to the nation’s economy was substantial. Moreover, aviation and tourism will play a pivotal role in Canada’s post-pandemic recovery by connecting people and businesses and creating much-needed jobs.
“Before the pandemic more than 75% of the world’s economies had daily access to Canada through Toronto Pearson,” she said. “What this activity drives, is 52,000 jobs in the tourism industry alone—people working at attractions and resorts, tour providers, culinary experiences, local and regional transportation organizations and more.
“But the travel and tourism experience is different and more complicated than it was two years ago,” she continued. “The anxiety that people feel about the process of travelling internationally is very real and will hold our sector back.”
The GTAA has worked closely with all levels of government during the pandemic to prioritize the health and safety of passengers and airport employees, and sees an opportunity to continue this collaborative effort to facilitate a stronger recovery—for aviation, for tourism and for the country at large—through government investments in a more seamless arrivals process, financial supports and relief for the broader travel sector, support of more revenue-generating tools such as arrivals duty free and waiving rent for 2021 and 2022, which will allow for reinvestment into strategic infrastructure projects that will ultimately benefit passengers and the national economy.
“Pearson, our employees and our partners will continue to work toward a measured recovery for travel and tourism,” Ms. Flint concluded. “As we get back on our feet, we have an opportunity to think and act differently together, with a focus on cultivating a healthy travel and tourism experience to forge a new path forward for our industry.”
About the Greater Toronto Airports Authority
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is the operator of Toronto – Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Canada’s largest airport and a vital connector of people, businesses and goods. Toronto Pearson has been named “Best Large Airport in North America serving more than 40 million passengers” for four years in a row by Airports Council International (ACI), the global trade representative of the world’s airports. In recognition of its Healthy Airport program, ACI also awarded Toronto Pearson the “Best hygiene measures in North America” award, and Toronto Pearson was the first Canadian airport to receive ACI’s global health accreditation for its response to COVID-19.
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