NW Week

Despite Omicron’s presence, hundreds of thousands of Canadians travel overseas

Despite Omicron, tens of thousands of Citizens travel abroad

Key Takeaways:

  • Despite growing concerns around the world about the new COVID-19 variant, Sandy Long and her husband left on November 28 for a 10-day vacation in Mexico.
  • For her clients, who are mostly over 50, Europe, Mexico, and Costa Rica are among the most popular destinations.
  • To enter Canada, air travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Sandy Long and her husband left on November 28 for a 10-day vacation in Mexico, despite growing concerns around the world about the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

Long stated that they felt safe traveling because they planned to take extreme precautions. Furthermore, the couple had not traveled abroad in two years and were itching to get away due to the pandemic.

Long, 58, of Richmond, B.C., said, “Life is short.” “We required some warmth, and we’d been missing Mexico.”

Despite Omicron’s rapid spread, which prompted Canada to reissue its advisory against non-essential international travel last month, it appears that many Canadians have a similar attitude toward travel these days.

Statistics Canada recorded 742,417 Canadian air passengers returning home from abroad in December.

Also read: Two Canadian citizens were killed in Mexico, as per the  Global Affairs

When adjusted for the latest changes in tracking air travel, that number was nearly six times that of the identical month in 2020 and much more than half that of pre-pandemic December 2019.

As per the most current data from the Canada Border Services Agency, there were 216,752 Canadian air-passenger arrivals in Canada during the week of January 3 to January 9.

Lesley Keyter, the owner of a travel agency, stated that since October, the number of clients booking trips has increased by 30 to 40% compared to the same time last year.

Europe, Mexico, and Costa Rica are among the most popular destinations for her clients, mostly over 50. When Omicron cases began to rise in December, Keyter said that some clients canceled their trips, but most continued with their plans.

“People are saying things like, ‘Listen, we only have so much time on this planet….’ We’ve been putting off travel for two years, and I’m not going to put it off any longer,” said Keyter, owner of Calgary’s The Travel Lady Agency.

Travelers can also be confident in their COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot, according to her. Because Omicron is so easily transmitted and resistant to vaccines, even those vaccinated may become infected. They’re less likely to end up in the hospital, though.

Despite Omicron, tens of thousands of Citizens travel abroad  The New York Times
Despite Omicron, tens of thousands of Citizens travel abroad. Image from The New York Times

Possibility of testing positive in another country

Even if infected travelers only show mild symptoms, they will face challenges when they return home.

Air travelers must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of departure to enter Canada. If a traveler tests positive for the disease, they must wait at least 11 days before flying home.

Brennan Watson, 26, of Milverton, Ont., tested positive on December 28 in Northern Ireland while on vacation.

He was supposed to fly home the next day but instead had to find a place in Belfast to self-isolate. Watson would have to wait 15 days to fly home due to Canada’s rules at the time, which have since changed.

Brennan said the delay cost him money because he missed 11 days as an electrician and had to pay $2,000 in additional expenses, including a second plane ticket home.

He stated, “There’s nothing you can do about it.” “It’s just something I never expected to happen.”

Travelers can avoid such unusual costs by purchasing trip-interruption insurance, according to travel insurance broker Martin Firestone. According to him, most of his clients now choose the coverage that reimburses travelers for some or all of their expenses if they test positive and have to extend their trip.

“Trip interruption, which used to be a very rarely [purchased product],” said Firestone of Travel Secure, “is now being added to all the emergency medical plans because clients are so worried about testing positive.”

“With the pandemic, that’s the new world we’re in right now.”

Source: CBC News

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.