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Canadian News Jan 7, 2021 5:43 PM EST

Air Canada hires influencers to promote vacationing despite pandemic

The promotion of travel contradicts guidelines from the Canadian government, which strongly discourages traveling by plane for non-essential purposes.

Air Canada hires influencers to promote vacationing despite pandemic
Noah David Alter Toronto

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Air Canada hired online social media influencers to encourage Canadians to travel on holiday vacations despite federal guidelines encouraging people not to, The Globe and Mail reports.

Air Canada Vacations has paid influencers to encourage holiday flying both inside and outside of Canada.

The promotion of travel contradicts guidelines from the Canadian government, which strongly discourages traveling by plane for non-essential purposes.

"No one should be vacationing abroad right now," Trudeau said in a Tuesday press conference.

Daniel Reyes, an Air Canada-hired influencer from Toronto, wrote in a Dec 1 social media post that "[we] no longer live in March 2020, and leisure travel can and is happening safely." He further promoted Air Canada specifically. "Why Air Canada Vacations? Because I feel completely safe in their hands," he wrote.

Another influencer for Air Canada, operating under the Instagram name of Mitch_Explores, promoted Air Canada Vacations and a resort in Mexico, where he vacationed over Christmas break. "If you follow best practices, there are really good infrastructure and procedures to travel, despite the social media blow back. It is possible to … have responsible decision making while traveling, and adhering to quarantining guidelines upon return," he wrote.

His travel partner, Jennifer Fast, also promoted travelling on her social media profile. "If you’ve been wondering if travelling again is right for you, be sure to follow along and if you have any questions for us, please shoot us over a DM - we’re open to answering any questions," she wrote.

None of the influencers have commented on the allegations.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick did not deny that Air Canada paid influencers, and said they do so "to reach audiences traditional media do not penetrate." However, he did say "[at] present, we do not have any new influencer engagements planned."

The revelation comes as the Canadian government announces plans to enforce coronavirus testing on all people boarding returning flights.

Such regulations have been highly criticized by the travel industry, which has described them as "callous and impractical."

Air Canada has received subsidies from the Canadian government over the course of the pandemic.

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