VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Travel agencies are still getting calls about travelling abroad despite stricter rules for entering Canada taking effect Monday.
Anyone flying into Canada will have to pay for the hotel during their mandatory three-day quarantine while waiting for COVID-19 test results.
Allison Wallace, a spokesperson for FlightCentre, says even though Canadian airlines aren’t flying to Mexico or the Caribbean anymore, the travel agency is fielding inquiries about skirting travel measures.
“We’ve actually had a few people specifically asking us how to provide workarounds. That’s not what we do,” she says. “We’re providing people with the information to get from Point A to Point B, but when we’re specifically asked for a workaround, it becomes a moral and ethical situation.”
But she does note it’s not up to the travel industry to police Canadians as to what is considered essential travel.
She says the company has been diligently working to stay on top of travel measures, but they’re receiving the information at the same time as the public.
“There’s an expectation we might know something before anyone else, but we’re sort of at the same mercy as everyone else when the government releases it.”
The travel agency has seen its business drop off dramatically through the pandemic and when it will start to pick up again depends on the COVID-19 vaccine and when people feel comfortable travelling again, Wallace says.
“We don’t really expect a significant increase in travel outside of Canada until probably September when most of the vaccines are rolled out. We do expect to start to see a rebound, but again, there are still going to be masks in play, COVID tests will still be a part of your travel experience, the process to book and plan travel is going to be more complicated. There’s a lot more variable now. It’s not just suddenly going to disappear and go back to pre-COVID.”
The prime minister announced late January that major Canadian airlines have agreed to suspend flights to the Caribbean and Mexico until at least April 30. International flights are also only allowed to land at four airports: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary.
-with files from Hana Mae Nassar, Cormac Mac Sweeney, and Monika Gul