PEI

Tourism industry hopes vaccination incentives will speed up P.E.I.'s reopening plan

The CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. says a vaccine incentive campaign will soon be rolling out for Islanders.

Chamber of Commerce concerned about competitive disadvantage with provinces that reopen sooner

The province is preparing an area near the Confederation Bridge to screen visitors when the borders reopen. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

The CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. says a vaccine incentive campaign will soon be rolling out for Islanders.

Corryn Clemence said in conversations with Premier Dennis King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison, it has been clear that vaccinations will be key to success moving forward.

"We are very excitedly working on a campaign that we will be rolling out here on Prince Edward Island to entice Islanders to get vaccinated as soon as possible," she said.

"We have industry support right across the Island. We have some really great incentives to encourage and really reward islanders for doing that. 

Clemence said the details will be released in the coming days.

Concerns from businesses

The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce hopes a speedier vaccination rollout will lead to an earlier reopening of the P.E.I. border. Currently, P.E.I. is not fully reopening to all of Canada until Sept. 12, more than two months after New Brunswick.

The chamber's interim CEO, Nicole Bellefleur, said the chamber sent a letter to King last week, outlining concerns from the business community and asking the province to reconsider its reopening dates to better align with those of the other Atlantic provinces.

"Our members understand that the province's top priority is the health and safety of Islanders, and they certainly agree with that," she said.

We're hearing from some people that they're even planning to leave P.E.I. to go to New Brunswick to meet up with family members who are from other parts of Canada.— Nicole Bellefleur

"But they are concerned that the plan's timelines are lagging behind those of other Atlantic provinces. And that's putting P.E.I. at a competitive disadvantage this upcoming tourism season."

Bellefleur said businesses would like to know what to expect as soon as possible so they can hire staff and plan accordingly.

"What we're hearing from our members is that they're starting to get a lot of cancellations as a result of seeing that other provinces are opening up sooner," she said.

"And, anecdotally, we're hearing from some people that they're even planning to leave P.E.I. to go to New Brunswick to meet up with family members who are from other parts of Canada — because they'll be able to do that in New Brunswick. Whereas they won't be able to see their family members this summer here on P.E.I. if they're not from Atlantic Canada."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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