Quebec Standard

Monday, October 2, 2023

The travel urge is increasing vacation bookings, but COVID testing is a critical hindrance


Key takeaways: 

  • Bookings grow to 50% past pre-pandemic levels.
  • Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos signaled Friday the government would declare modifications to pandemic border limitations this week. 

Vacation bookings increase by 50%: 

Travel agents and airlines are noticing a wave in bookings abroad as the spring holiday comes, but a real climb will probably hinge on how far the federal government moves back COVID-19 testing laws.

Bookings to sun destinations via now transcend 50 percent of pre-pandemic extents, with an uptick over the weekend as word spread of a potential wind-down of testing needs, told president Richard Vanderlubbe.

Calls are arriving in so quickly he’s stumbling to employ enough agents to manage them after trimming almost 60 percent of his 160 workers and shuttering all 26 office areas in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

“The entire enterprise is seeing that we’re short-staffed right now for this climb that’s come. And we’re still dealing with the revocations that happened before and getting people rebooked” — a pretty time-consuming task for customers and agents alike — he stated in a phone interview. source –

Also read: Sherbrooke university students head to cave painting

Vacation bookings boost as the travel urge

Flight Centre spokeswoman Allison Wallace expects a sustained industry recovery as confidence in travel safety grows, with almost 80 percent of Canadians now double vaccinated.

“We are swamped as we’ve seen notable growth in both inquiries and bookings. There was much more tension around rules and border needs that were regularly changing the previous year,” Wallace stated in an email. source –

“The PCR testing upon coming is the most significant barrier for individuals right now, and if the government does declare its removal, we hope to see bookings rise dramatically past March break.” source –

Calls for clear timelines

While Flight Centre reservations for the next month stay at 40 percent of pre-pandemic levels, exit numbers had shot up to almost eight times the previous year’s total when Caribbean flights were stopped.

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