TICO, CAA See Signs Of Travel Readiness

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

For those of us in travel facing the unknowns brought on by a global pandemic, a roundup of conversations with local retailers by CTVNews indicates there is light at the end of the tunnel.

TICO’s CEO, Richard Smart, who has a bird’s eye view of the industry in Ontario, says Canadians are tired of staying at home and pent up demand will drive bookings.

“We’re a society that loves to travel,” Smart told CTV. “There’s a pent-up demand to travel. With being cooped up and working from home these days, I think everyone is ready to travel again but, obviously, they’re concerned. They want to feel safe to do so.” 

Elaine Simpson, of Algonquin Travel in Ottawa suburb Gloucester, says 2020 started off great for travel agencies, but then business came to a halt in MAR as the coronavirus spread. Lately, it has picked up with bookings into 2022, she says.

Jeff Walker, President and CEO of CAA North & East Ontario says with interest coming back, travel agencies can start to recover some of their lost revenue.

“It literally feels a bit like a roller-coaster and now we’re just on that start of the uphill climb again,” he said.

“You have to remember, we have this huge mass of baby boomers who have either just retired or just on the cusp of retiring. The reality is that there is this window of about 10 years, let’s call it 65-75, where that’s your big window to do your big travel.” 

The advantage that retired boomers have is that many don’t mind the 14 day quarantine still required upon returning to Canada. 

Travel advisor Darci Murray, of Burnaby, BC-based agency Personal Travel Management, recently told Open Jaw it, too, is seeing new bookings trickle in, even big trips like a world cruise, scored by PMT agent Philip Beck.

One way COVID has changed travel – for the better – is that clients are showing a renewed appreciation for travel.

"What we're finding is that people aren't excited to go on a Mexico all-inclusive. Travel has been taken away from them so they're like, 'Whoa, when it comes back, we want to do those bucket list trips. We don't want to do a weekend in Palm Springs; we want to go to Africa,'" Murray says.

There is no doubt maintaining optimism can be challenging, but as Smart said, Canadians love to travel and will need guidance from qualified advisors to make the right choices.  

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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