Facilitating travel for Chinese transit passengers through Canada
Vancouver: Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced at the Vancouver International Airport the expansion of the China Transit Program (CTP). This program allows eligible Chinese travellers to fly to and transit through Canada visa-free when they are en route to and from the United States.
Starting June 1, 2015, the program will expand to three additional major transit hubs – Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, and Seoul Incheon, which are in addition to Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Manila and Taipei that are already part of the program.
“Our government is committed to facilitating legitimate trade and travel, including supporting Canada’s air industry efforts to attract more transit business to the country.
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister said, “This expansion of the China Transit Program will help generate more business for our airlines and airports, and could potentially lead to the opening of new routes and destinations, which would benefit all travellers, including Canadians.”
He said that this expansion means more choice and greater flexibility for eligible Chinese travellers to transit through Canada, and more business for participating airlines and Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International Airports, including additional revenue for airports through landing fees and spending by travellers.
As part of today’s announcement, the Government is also simplifying the administrative process by which new airlines can participate in the China Transit Program. This change will make it easier for airlines to carry eligible Chinese transit passengers through Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International Airports.
The Government of Canada is committed to the expansion of transit programs and is assessing the eligibility of other departure cities in China to be added in the future. Consultations with the air and tourism industries are ongoing as the government explores new opportunities for facilitating transit passengers through Canadian airports, particularly once the new Electronic Travel Authorization system is implemented next year.
The Canada-China Air Transport Agreement, which was recently updated, has increased air traffic between Canada and China by approximately 14 per cent between 2013 and 2014, to reach close to 1.5 million total one-way passenger trips.
China continues to be one of the top source countries for immigrants to Canada and is also a leading source country for international students and visitor visas. In 2014, for example, Canada issued a record 360,923 visas to Chinese citizens. Other key ways Canada is facilitating travel for Chinese citizens includes expedited processing for visitors and businesspeople under such programs as CAN+ and the Business Express Program and more broadly, the 10-year multiple entry visa. In 2014, China was Canada’s second-largest export market, with exports valued at nearly $19.3 billion, up 45.7 per cent over the past five years.
Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority, “YVR’s goal is to connect B.C. proudly to the world by becoming a world-class sustainable connecting hub. This is huge step in the right direction for YVR, British Columbia and Canada. The expansion of the China Transit Program will make YVR more attractive to transiting travellers and ultimately increase YVR’s air service and passenger growth.”