Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. travel ban will cripple struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government not to pursue plans to ban domestic travel in their efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The coalition of tourism and accommodation associations from Vancouver, Richmond and Greater Victoria says the government must steer away from an outright ban and work instead with the industry and communities to better educate travelers on health and safety protocols.

Vivek Sharma, chair of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., says a non-essential travel ban would heighten unnecessary fears and misperceptions toward visitors and further cripple the already struggling sector.

Premier John Horgan said earlier this week his government is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel.

Sharma says the Association has a legal opinion stating a travel ban would be difficult to implement due to Canada’s mobility rights provisions, but the industry is not looking for a legal confrontation with the province.

Sharma says the spread of COVID-19 is not tied to where people live but how they behave.

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