The Canadian economy is deprived of significant revenues from tourism, as China has decided not to include Canada in the list of countries its tourists can visit – a decision it justifies due to Ottawa’s position in the event of foreign interference.
Chinese travel agencies can resume organizing group tours to many countries, including the United States and Australia, but they are still prohibited from planning activities in Canada.
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced last week that it had ended health restrictions that were preventing agencies from arranging tours for Chinese tourists.
These agencies can now resume operations in 70 more countries around the world, but Canada has been quietly excluded from this relief.
The reason behind the move is that alleged Chinese interference in Canada has garnered a lot of attention in the political sphere in recent months, as first revealed by CBC/Radio-Canada.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement sent to Canadian Press.
“a safe and welcoming environment”
The embassy also denounced what it described as an increase in anti-Asian actions and statements and discrimination.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety and rights of Chinese citizens when they are abroad, and wants them to be able to travel in a safe and hospitable environment. »
Allegations of possible Chinese interference in Canadian political activities drew attention in Ottawa this spring, especially when media revealed that China had attempted to interfere in the recent federal election twice.
For several weeks, opposition parties and the federal government have been trying to agree on what form a possible public investigation into foreign interference might take.
Before opening the door to such an investigation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed former Governor General David Johnston as Special Rapporteur to investigate the case. However, Johnston resigned shortly after publishing his initial report, citing the political climate surrounding his work.
China has gradually begun to ease travel restrictions it imposed during the epidemic.
In January, organized tours were able to resume in the first group of countries, which included, in particular, Thailand and Russia. More than 40 countries were added to the list in March, including France and Brazil.
The United Kingdom, Japan and Germany are among the countries that received permits last week.
In 2019, Chinese tourists spent more than any other country in Canada.
Chinese visitors spent an average of 44 nights in Canada during their stay, according to data from Destination Canada.
Visitors who travel purely for pleasure, as opposed to those who visit friends or family, tend to spend an average of 15 nights in Canada. All-inclusive tours and packages are popular options.
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