Earlier this month the U.S reopened its borders to vaccinated visitors, a move that is expected to increase the number of Canadians venturing to Arizona this winter. Last week, President Biden met with Canada’s prime minister and the president of Mexico in a return of talks that were on hiatus during the Trump administration. What does all this mean for Arizona? We asked Glenn Williamson, CEO of the Canada-Arizona Business Council.
Williamson says the closure of the northern border is a forgotten tragedy of the pandemic.
“I think anytime you take a border that far and long and close it and people living hundred of yards away from each other that are family that can’t get back and forth that’s the real tragedy that gets lost,” Williamson said.
The process of people visiting across the border has slowly started according to Williamson. He says we are already starting to see snowbirds coming down to visit Arizona. Despite the border being open, there is still a “psychological confusion” about how to cross the border.
Williamson says trade between the two nations has been “fantastic”.
“Foreign direct investment from Canada into the state of Arizona has actually gone up over 20% during the pandemic,” Williamson said.
Biden hosted the Three Amigos Summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador which was the first to be hosted since 2016. Williamson says any time three leaders come together is a big deal, but private sector investments between the three nations have not impeded that much during the pandemic.
Williamson says the pinch in snowbirds traveling was in part due to political overtones in how citizens view travel.
“When Canadians look at the U.S they are going ‘is it safe, is there a problem down there, what’s going on?’ and when Americans look at Canada they go ‘How far left is it?’,” Williamson said.