In a blog post over at Connection Tours, we are talking with travel agents about the huge demand we are seeing for 2022 and what it's been like to book and re-book our space (hotel space, airfare, guides, etc.).
It's been an interesting ride, and we're excited about the future - but none of these bookings will matter if we don't focus on the most important question:
When can we travel again?
And what will it be like when we can travel again?
Cue the Kokomo song.
In this piece on our Battlefield Tours blog, we're laying it all out on the table for Canadian travellers and their travel agents - the hotel quarantine, the vaccine rollout, vaccination travel, to the industry phenomenon called "revenge travel" - are you ready?
^^^ On this day a year ago I was told I had to head home from Brussels. Coincidentally, it was to be my last trip with my old passport. We'd been through thick and thin together. I knew something big was happening, but who could have known the impact this selfie would carry a year later?
There's no word on when Canada's mandatory hotel quarantine will be relaxed, but it is apparent that this disaster of a mandate (1) will be correlated with the vaccine rollout - we speculate that by the end of April the mandatory hotel quarantine will be readdressed.
Vaccines in Canada are coming quickly, but not as fast as the vast majority of other countries around the world. (2)
Regardless Ontario has announced that they aim to have vaccines open to all residents that want it by June 20th (3). Across Canada, the forecast we've been given for the majority of the population is anywhere between July and September.
There is a window of opportunity to travel abroad and get the vaccine earlier - some places around the world are allowing non-residents to get their vaccine early - we all know of the CEO of Canada's pension plan, Mark Machin, who traveled to Saudi Arabia to get his vaccine (4), and although he felt political repercussions from this, other Canadians paid attention to the opportunity he harnessed. Countries much closer to us who have an oversupply of vaccines have agreed that they will allow non-residents to get the vaccine - places like California (5), aim to vaccinate anyone who wants it, regardless of your residency.
Vaccine tourism, like medical tourism, might be an option for many, as long as you are willing and able following the current regulations to travel to and from that destination safely, why not? If I could, I know I would harness the opportunity to get back to work as safely and as healthy as I could.
OK but how about after our vaccinations - then what?
We don't necessarily have clear instructions yet, but there's enough buzz to make an educated guess.
The Vaccine Passport
IATA - the International Air Transport Authority is pioneering a new app called the "Travel Pass" (6) which is set to launch real soon (they are hoping within the next week!). IATA has been working to seamlessly integrate this app with hotels, airlines, governments, and airports to allow vaccinated travellers to travel as freely as they did in the Before Times™.
^^^ Travel Week has started to prepare agents
The app is currently being test driven by over 14 global airlines - so it definitely looks like the Vaccine Passport App is being taken seriously, which means it definitely looks like you'll need a Covid vaccination to travel internationally over the next few years - at least if you want to bypass strict COVID quarantines and regulations.
Then there's the question of which destinations will open their borders first - luckily for us there are a tonne of websites currently monitoring this. Prince of Travel's Master List is updated weekly, with many countries opening up to Canadians already!
We can also speculate that the destinations that have been conservative in their approach to the pandemic will most likely be the last to re-open to the public travel market - countries in South East Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand most likely will be among the last. Countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and other destinations that depend primarily on tourism for their GDP will be among the first to re-open, and we expect them to re-open fast.
When it comes to the UK however - it's anybody's guess - who knows what on earth they're doing over there.
🔥 Getting Revenge 🔥
For the travel industry, it's not a question of "IF" it's a question of "WHEN" - and a phenomenon discussed by the Globe & Mail on March 19th talks of this - an unprecedented travel boom is coming. We feel it with the inquiries we're receiving and the difficulties we've had trying to firm up the hotel space.
They're calling it "Revenge Travel" - and it's the way people are looking to take back the year we lost.
As the Globe and Mail puts it - the best revenge, is to live well. And meaningful travel that benefits both the traveller and the host destination will be taking over cruises, resort vacations, and domestic travel.
Sounds like we better get to booking!
In the coming months we will continue to monitor this update, this certainly won't be the last time we'll ask for the answers to these important questions, but every day we inch closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
(1) Canada's Mandatory Hotel Quarantine has been a total disaster princeoftravel.com/blog/canada-hotel-quarantine-has-been-a-total-disaster/
(4) National Post (a great opinion piece) CEO of Canada's pension plan, Mark Machin, traveled to the Middle East to get his vaccine early
(5) California aims to vaccinate anyone who wants it, regardless of your residency - California's Official Webpage: https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/ - The Washington Post Coverage: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-vaccine-foreign-nationals/2021/02/12/7d5edbb4-6d2f-11eb-ba56-d7e2c8defa31_story.html
- The Rolling Stone (Is it ethical?) https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/covid-19-vaccine-travel-states-international-1128536/
(6) The IATA Travel Pass https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/travel-pass/
Other Great References
- Prince of Travel's
Travel During COVID-19: Resources & Information for Canadians princeoftravel.com/coronavirus/
- Globe & Mail March 19th Article on Revenge Travel theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/article-revenge-travel-is-coming-are-you-ready/
- DCI (Development Counsellors International) Tourism Research Report on Canadian Travel Behaviour after COVID https://aboutdci.com/services/tourism-research/