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Summer vacation options expand as coronavirus travel restrictions ease in Manitoba

Click to play video: 'Manitoba looking to attract travellers' Manitoba looking to attract travellers
The tourism industry in Manitoba is getting ready for out of province vacationers with their new ad campaign launching mid-July. Malika Karim reports – Jun 22, 2020

Phase three of Manitoba’s COVID-19 re-opening plan eliminates the need to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning from provinces west and north of Manitoba, as well as from northwest Ontario.

Now, the tourism industry in Manitoba is getting ready for out of province vacationers with their new ad campaign launching mid-July.

“This is really the summer for people to see what Manitoba has to offer,” said Travel Manitoba vice-president of marketing and communications, Linda Whitfield.

“We’ve coined the campaign we’re launching, ‘Show Manitoba Some Love’.”

READ MORE: Is it safe to go on vacation this summer? Experts break down travel options

The campaign is focusing on attracting travellers from Saskatchewan and Ontario. Whitfield tells Global News they’re focusing on short-haul trips for vacationers, looking at the length of time it would take a traveller to get to Manitoba.

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“The road trip will be an especially important means of travel this year because of COVID and because of fewer flights, and people still being cautious about flying anywhere,” Whitfield said.

“So that drive to market is going to be especially important this year.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Manitoba to enter reopening Phase 3 on June 21' Coronavirus: Manitoba to enter reopening Phase 3 on June 21
Coronavirus: Manitoba to enter reopening Phase 3 on June 21 – Jun 17, 2020

Travel agencies in the Winnipeg area are also feeling hopeful for the industry to bounce back as travel restrictions have eased.

“We are getting inquires for British Columbia, going to the Island, culinary-type tours, more outdoor adventure type-travel,” said Michael Kroeker, president of Bonaventure Travel, Inc.

“We had a webinar last week on travel to Churchill. We’re seeing travel within our own province; we’re seeing an uptick.”

Kroeker noted the travel industry took a massive hit in March when international travel was grounded in Canada due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

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With the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel extended, Kroeker is hoping the ease-back with provincial borders will help with business.

READ MORE: Travel bans accelerated worldwide as coronavirus spread worsens, markets plunge

“We were having probably our best year on record, to the worst,” Kroeker said of business in early 2020. “It went from revenues to zero literally in a matter of days.”

Travel Manitoba is hoping Canadians will enjoy their own backyards, while exploring new areas of the country they may not have thought of as vacation destinations.

“Our first foray back when we reactivated our social channels was all around ‘stay home’ messaging,” Whitfield said. “Then we moved in. As the phases progressed, we moved into the ‘stay safe’.

“We always reference the stay safe measures. We advise that travellers should still be aware of the provincial regulations and make sure they adhere to all the safety protocols.”

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