Strange days indeed: Travel ban still in place, but phones are ringing again

Some customers have even been caught off guard by how quickly good deals disappear.

According to Jennifer McPherson of Turnkey Travel – TravelOnly: “A Dreams resort package that I cited on May 20 has now gone up by $ 500 per person and the customer wishes they had booked!

Perhaps seeing Prime Minister Trudeau finally talking about travel with a smile on his face, as he did in his June 18 announcement regarding Canada’s two-tier proof of vaccination system for international travel, has caused some clients to reflect on their own long overdue travel plans. . The success of vaccination in Canada has boosted morale. And the federal government’s June 21 announcement to ease travel restrictions for returning fully vaccinated Canadians, effective July 5, has undoubtedly been a game-changer so far.

Nino Montagnese, CEO of ACV, says the greatest demand is for sun destinations in the winter of 2021-2022. “We anticipated a few trends that we are also seeing materialize in the types of reservations. Namely, huge demand for sun destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean. And, with so many Canadians yearning to reunite with friends and family, there has also been an increase in bookings for several rooms. Finally, travelers are looking to shake off their months of confinement with unique getaways, and we’re seeing that in the rise of luxury vacations, ”Montagnese said.

ACV is recalling its employees and hiring new members to meet the demand.

It’s the same with Goway.

“We are seeing a significant increase in inquiries. Demand is driven back and customers are shopping and dreaming about their next trip. We are currently bringing back all of our destination specialists and will have a full staff on the sales floor within the next two weeks, ”said Craig Canvin, Goway vice president for Europe.

“If the destination is open, customers book,” Canvin adds. “Greece, Iceland, Costa Rica, Belize, Dubai, Egypt, Tahiti and the Maldives are all incredibly popular right now.

Goway’s message to the agents? “Business is back. If your clients are planning to travel this fall, book early and remember that we always offer our flexible booking terms, ”Canvin explains.

Collette is also experiencing a rise. Almost all of the new bookings are for 2022 and 2023. “We have dates available until May 31, 2023,” Collette CEO Brett Walker said.

Sales of Collette’s cancellation for whatever reason have skyrocketed, Walker added, from a 36% buy rate before the pandemic to 62% now. “It goes up steadily,” he said. “Our waiver allows guests to cancel anytime, up to 24 hours before departure and receive a full cash refund and Collette has kept her promise throughout the pandemic.”

SUPPORT STILL NEEDED

But as travel restrictions diminish, so do the federal government’s financial assistance programs that have helped the travel industry stay alive through the pandemic.

Travel agents have been working in the midst of negative cash flow for over a year now, and although reservations are coming in now, the long reservation window means agents are still not seeing any immediate income.

ACTA President Wendy Paradis said that while the news of the relaxation of travel restrictions is welcome, “unfortunately, continued non-essential travel advisories and restrictions offer little hope of a recovery this summer. “.

The travel advisory, still in effect, also has an impact on tour operators.

“Tour operators purchase liability and errors and omissions insurance as part of good business practice. These insurance policies include a rider that voids the tour operator’s insurance coverage while the government “Avoid All Travel” and “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” notices are in effect. So until these general advisories are lifted, it is extremely difficult (read largely impossible) for Ontario-based tour operators to organize trips outside of Canada, ”said Laurielle Penny, Managing Director of Worldwide Quest.

Penny adds: “Individuals are free to disregard government advice with impunity (and are now being encouraged with a government nod to do so with the relaxation of restrictions on return to Canada); tour operators who follow the rules and regulations are not. Outbound tour operators based in Ontario need general advisories to be lifted and replaced with relevant country-specific recommendations. And until that happens, we need continued financial support from the government to make up for the inability to operate. “

To read the full article, including airline reviews, click here for the June 30 edition of Travelweek.

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