Fully vaccinated groups from the United States were allowed into Canada again last week, so how is that going?

More precisely, it is discretionary travel that is permissible again for the first time since the pandemic. Travelers need to upload proof of vaccination and travel details at least 72 hours prior to arrival using the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN app, whether coming by air or land.

“After a trying 18 months, the opening of the Canadian border to fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents (residing in the U.S.) for discretionary travel that took place on Aug. 9 is an exciting advancement for the Canadian business events industry who are eagerly awaiting the return of conferences, meetings and incentive travel in Canada,” is how Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director for Business Events at Destination Canada responds.

Sturk-Nadeau notes her country is on track to welcome the return of fully vaccinated nonessential visitors from elsewhere in the world beginning in September. “This step toward our new normal paves the way for our Team Canada partners to welcome back our valued clients and their delegates with a return of international business events to Canada’s centers of excellence and legendary incentive destinations,” she says.

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Hospitality operators and other Canadian travel destination businesses have invested heavily in safety and hygiene upgrades and instituted new hygiene protocols, the country’s tourism officials note, adding that Canada’s adult population now has one of the world’s highest rates of Covid-19 vaccination. According to official health data, more than 71 percent have received at least one dose, and nearly 62 percent are fully vaccinated.

“Our research shows that the focus of business event planners has shifted—rescheduling activity has shrunk considerably from more than 50 percent in 2020 to 21 percent in recent months. Focus on booking new events has more than doubled since January 2021, and sourcing new RFPs is gaining activity,” Sturk-Nadeau says. “This all tells us that planners are cautiously optimistic for their future meetings. We are pleased to see many events returning to Canada this fall, with 80 percent of our reported international business events hailing from the U.S.”

In addition to being fully vaccinated, all incoming visitors also need to provide negative Covid-19 test results. Providing false information can lead to hefty fines. Two travelers trying to enter Toronto in mid-July were each fined nearly $20,000 Canadian dollars for doing so, reported USA Today.

For the latest information on travel to Canada, including the updated federal requirements and restrictions, please visit the Government of Canada website here.