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Thursday, June 17, 2021

New COVID Guidelines Wreak Havoc (Once more) on Journey Advisors

As if journey advisors hadn’t been hit arduous sufficient throughout this pandemic, the brand new COVID testing guidelines enforce for travellers to Canada on January seventh is as soon as once more creating havoc for them.

The (some would say) hastily-put collectively announcement that got here late within the day on New Yr’s Eve gave little time for each travellers and the trade to regulate.

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Beneath the brand new guidelines, all travellers to Canada over the age of 5 should present a unfavourable COVID check to board the aircraft. Assessments for many international locations have to be carried out inside 72 hours earlier than departure, although the Canadian authorities has given travellers from the Caribbean and South America, a 96 hour window on account of lack of services in these areas.

Journey advisors are, as soon as once more, left on the frontlines to cope with the mess made by the adjustments. Shoppers already in vacation spot when the announcement was made are left scrambling to discover a place to get examined. Shoppers who had been planning a visit within the subsequent few weeks are cancelling.

“There are numerous issues,” says Brenda Slater, co-founder of the Affiliation of Canadian Impartial Journey Advisors. “First the Canadian authorities was recommending individuals get examined from authorised services, however then there was no record of authorised services given. That, in my humble opinion, ought to’ve been offered from the federal government, with hyperlinks to those authorised websites. It appears as there was no thought course of put into the logistics of what (Transport) Minister (Marc) Garneau introduced.”

Most of the international locations Canadians go to, significantly this time of yr, are smaller international locations who depend upon tourism. They’ve been hit significantly arduous and are wanting to welcome guests once more. However a few of them lack the infrastructure to accommodate testing on the dimensions that is required, leading to bumped appointment occasions and lengthy waits.

TravelPulse Canada spoke with journey agent Rhonda Mantay of Simply Go Journey in Alberta, who’s at present in Jamaica along with her household. Her household of 4 had to return to a clinic twice for checks, as the primary day there have been solely three spots obtainable. Authorities-approved websites in Jamaica are solely in Montego Bay and Kingston, so it is a trek of a number of hours for some visitiors.

Extra importantly, some brokers fear there’s additionally an elevated danger of COVID publicity on the web site, which in Mantay’s case, was an outdoor tent.

“I actually felt very uncovered and susceptible to COVID getting examined in Jamaica,” Mantay says. “The services encompass simply an overhead tent in a parking zone, and there are lots of people ready to be examined who aren’t following customary social distancing measures. We in all probability had a better likelihood of catching it there then we did the remainder of our trip.”

The shortage of course from the Canadian authorities on accepted services can be leading to worth gouging. Slater tells us she has a household of 4 at present in vacation spot, unable to get a testing timeslot to come back house. They’re “working round it” by paying a health care provider $350 US every for a check that may be carried out of their timeframe required. Slater worries this case is simply the start as journey rebounds and extra already cash-strapped locals are (understandably) making an attempt to make a dwelling.

Total, Slater and Mantay don’t perceive how the federal government carried out new measures with out session from the journey trade. Or how they by some means felt that international locations with far much less infrastructure than Canada would be capable of handle the push of checks that’s now required.

“It’s a burden placed on these international locations which can be already struggling, very similar to the Canadian journey advisor neighborhood,” says Slater.

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