COVID-19 vaccine boosts Maritimers' travel hopes, but considerations remain
HALIFAX -- The beleaguered travel industry is finally getting some good news with the announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine rollout. However, for an industry turned upside down, there are several factors to consider when planning a post-pandemic trip.
According to the federal government, anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will have the opportunity to receive it by the end of next year.
"It will someday be safe to travel," says Gary Howard, CAA Atlantic's senior vice-president of marketing and communications. "We're not there yet."
Howard says capacity will continue to be limited for many tours even after a vaccine is available.
"It doesn't hurt to start thinking about and planning for it, and in some cases, even booking for it," says Howard. "If you're thinking, 'Gosh, I really want to do the Rhine River tour in October 2021,' you should really be thinking about that now."
Halifax Stanfield International Airport is counting on airlines to be prepared for increased travel demand and restore service to flight routes that have been cut.
"Last year, we were connected to 46 locations across Canada, the U.S., and other parts of the world," says Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesperson Tiffany Chase. "Going into January, we'll have between six and eight destinations in Canada that we're connected to and on far fewer frequencies; so, certainly that is something travellers will have to adjust to in 2021."
The age-old recommendation to protect your vacation or trip with travel insurance is no different, although it may require another look in the new year.
"What about travel insurance? What will that look like?" says Howard, noting questions and concerns many prospective travellers will have to consider. "What kind of coverages might you have in terms of cancellations and so on?"
In the spring, many travellers struggled to get answers about their insurance coverage when trip cancellations began piling up.
Additionally, picking a travel destination will also present challenges, as countries return to a ‘post-pandemic normal’ at varying paces. Several travel restrictions remain in place, with the Canada-U.S. border closure recently extended to Jan. 21, 2021.
Requirements for self-isolation will also begin to vary in the months to come, country-by-country. Any traveller entering Canada for another country is required to isolate for a period of 14 days.
Meanwhile, in October, the European Union removed Canada from its list of countries where travel restrictions should be lifted.