(Ottawa) Canada’s economy is starved of substantial tourism-related revenue as China decides not to include Canada in the list of countries its tourists can visit – a decision it justifies because of the Ottawa’s attitude to foreign interference.
Chinese travel agencies can resume organizing group trips 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 was ending health restrictions that prevented agencies from arranging trips for Chinese tourists.
These agencies can now resume operations in 70 more countries around the world, but Canada has been quietly dropped from this relief.
This decision is explained by the fact that the alleged interference of China in Canada has received a lot of attention in the political sphere in recent months, as first revealed by CBC/Radio-Canada.
“Recently, the Canadian clan has been promoting theories of alleged Chinese interference a lot,” the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement to La Presse Canadienne.
The embassy has also denounced what it describes as an increase in anti-Asian and discriminatory acts and remarks.
“The Chinese government values the safety and rights of Chinese citizens while abroad, and wants them to be able to travel in a safe and welcoming environment. »
Allegations of possible Chinese interference in Canadian political activities captured attention in Ottawa this spring, especially when media outlets revealed that China allegedly tried to interfere in the last two federal elections.
For several weeks, the opposition parties and the federal government have been trying to agree on the form that a possible public inquiry into foreign interference would take.
Before opening the door to such an investigation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed former Governor General David Johnston as a special rapporteur to investigate this issue. Mr. Johnston, however, resigned shortly after the publication of his preliminary report, citing the political climate around his work.
China has gradually started easing its travel restrictions that it had put in place during the pandemic.
In January, organized trips were able to resume for a first group of countries, which notably included Thailand and Russia. More than 40 countries were added to the list in March, including France and Brazil.
The UK, Japan and Germany are among the countries that received clearances last week.
In 2019, Chinese tourists spent more than those from 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 traveling solely for leisure, as opposed to those visiting friends or family, tended to spend an average of 15 nights in Canada. All-inclusive tours and packages are popular choices.