Maritime travel officials expect a busier holiday season as COVID-19 vaccine rates rise, restrictions loosen
After a year with minimum recreational travel due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, a spokesperson for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, just outside of Halifax, N.S., says they're expecting to see that change this holiday season.
"We are expecting this year, that given increased vaccination rates and other travel restrictions that have been lifted throughout the pandemic, mostly recently earlier this summer, that more people will be looking to reconnect with family and friends over the holiday season," said Tiffany Chase, spokesperson for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
Chase expects December will be busy at the Halifax airport and encourages travellers to plan ahead and be prepared.
"So, of course we're always giving the same kind of tips that we would have pre-pandemic, in letting people know that they may encounter lineups at various aspects of the journey at the airport, and to arrive with plenty of time to make their way through the process," explained Chase.
At the Saint John Airport in Saint John, N.B., bookings through December to early January are said to be relatively "strong" and "solid."
"If you compare it to pre-pandemic, we're probably between 40 to 50 per cent of what we were. But still, our load factor is based on the available seats we have and it's significant," said Jacques Fournier, with the Saint John Airport.
According to CAA Atlantic, their phones have been very busy lately, with an increased interest in travel.
"As we head into the holiday season, people are interested in all types of travel," said Steve Olmstead, with CAA Atlantic. "Whether it's here in Atlantic Canada or beyond, or even internationally, and they're really trying to do their best to plan that travel."
Olmstead said those who are calling have plenty of valid questions.
"One thing they are doing consistently is looking for advice from a trusted travel advisor and that advantage helps them negotiate some of these developments that are coming at us left, right and centre with respect to the pandemic," said Olmstead.
Olmstead says anyone travelling this holiday season should make sure they have a good plan in place, and make to familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 rules and restrictions in place at your final destination, as well as stopping points along the way.