Updated: Jul 25, 2021
In a blog post over at Connection Tours earlier this year, we were 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, restaurants, museums etc.).
It's been a bumpy 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?
Ugh, can we cue the Kokomo song YET? Please!?
Last week, the saga continues with more exciting news.
Let's talk about what we know from last week, and what's good to know in the weeks ahead.
^^^ In March 2020, I was told I had to head home from a conference setting up the Liberation 75 Tours in Brussels. Coincidentally, it was to be my last trip with my old passport. This is part III of the "When can we travel again - A saga"
For travellers coming into Canada
The Government of Canada announced last week that fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada for discretionary travel as of August 9, 2021.
Then, provided that Canada’s COVID-19 case counts remain low, fully vaccinated nationals of other foreign countries will be able to enter Canada as of September 7, 2021.
Now, a crucial reminder, if there’s an uptick in COVID-19 cases, expect these measures to be pushed back.
What about Canadians returning home?
On July 5, Canada loosened travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated Canadian residents to return home without undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
We knew from the start that only fully vaccinated travellers would be able to travel but to be considered fully vaccinated, travellers must have completed a full series (or mixed series) of Health Canada-approved vaccines – that is: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson – at least 14 days prior to their arrival in Canada.
Borders remain closed to unvaccinated foreign nationals entering for the purpose of tourism, and if you're a Canadian returning home unvaccinated, the 14-day quarantine is still mandatory - however, also as of August 9, Canada will put an end to the three-day hotel quarantine policy that began in January 2021.
Canada’s hotel quarantine was a complete disaster from start to finish, and we are happy to see it go.
The New Testing System Announcement (oh boy)
As Canada prepares to welcome an influx of travellers back into the country, a new post-arrival testing strategy will need to be implemented for fully vaccinated travellers.
Instead of requiring all fully vaccinated travellers to complete a test upon arriving in Canada, only a random selection of travellers will be required to undergo a test. This will help the bottlenecks that we are already facing at the select few border crossings that are open at the moment.
Unvaccinated travellers will still need to undergo test on Days 1 and 8 upon their return to Canada.
We will see how this goes!
OK, so when can we "Call It"?
When the news last week came out, our good friend Ricky over at The Prince of Travel asked "Can we now “call it?” Is travel is well and truly on its way back, or is it too early to say?"
While there is progress here in Canada, the same isn’t true all around the world. Several countries are dealing with rising case numbers, fuelled by the more transmissible Delta variant.
What's interesting about Canada is that they've decided to open borders on September 7 to all vaccinated foreign travellers, unlike so many other countries, who have a select list of vaccinated foreign nationals coming from places with low infection rates.
The select list of Health Canada-recognized vaccines does screen potential travellers though; Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines appear to be more effective in protecting against new variants, and they’re also only widely available among the world’s wealthier countries who are vaccinating their populations effectively.
This global imbalance in vaccination rates and protection against variants is directly related to vaccine shortages, and it's something the travel industry is keeping an eye on.
We can’t say that international travel is truly back until global vaccination and recovery effort is much further along.
List of Countries we can travel to
Below is a full list of every country open to Canadians, as per the IATA (International Travel Regulations Map) We highlighted the countries on the map that we travel to regularly. You'll notice that the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Vietnam, and Cambodia, are countries that we travel to regularly but are not yet on the list, which means they're a still bit more difficult for Canadian entry.
Countries open to Canadians, if vaccinated
Countries open to Canadians, no testing required (as of July 24, 2021)
Open to Canadians, but testing required (as of July 24, 2021)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Antigua & Barbuda
Barbados (2–3 days' restricted movement in hotel)