Travel agent’s voice of reason as panel discusses impact of PCR costs on family travel

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Gallant-Halloran says she sees it firsthand in her agency. “The results of these prohibitively expensive measures are reflected in the reservation rates,” she said. “While many have scheduled travel bookings for November and December, the tourism industry is bracing for cancellations. I already see cancellation after cancellation.

It is time for the rules to keep pace with developments in science that will keep families safe while traveling and allow them to travel, she said.

Before the pandemic, family travel accounted for more than 35% of international travel from Canada, Gallant-Halloran said, adding that this did not even include travel to the United States.

The obstacles posed by the costs of PCR tests and the fact that unvaccinated minors traveling with vaccinated parents face two weeks of absence from schools and daycares “is a fundamental problem for the sector,” she said. declared.

Entering this (hopefully) final phase of the pandemic, Gallant-Halloran said she assumed the trip “would already be operational. It’s not. And this is especially true for families.

She adds, “Families love the certainty when traveling. They like the certainty of reservations and the certainty of costs. And they like to know what to expect when they arrive at their destination and when they leave. The travel industry is back in a position where we can provide that certainty to our customers. However, our federal government is making this difficult. And whether it is the prohibitively expensive pre-departure PCR tests to get home, or the discriminatory child policy prohibiting grandchildren from traveling south, or just unclear messages. , many families choose to stay at home.

Gallant-Halloran also spoke about the industry as a whole. “As you can imagine, the past 18 months have been a particular challenge for the travel and tourism industry. It hasn’t been easy, from the agent or the advisor, from the hotel to the airline. Everyone was deeply touched. Having said that, as an industry, we are very strong. We have focused on rebuilding our industry to come back and meet the demand of a population ready to get back on the road.

ADD TO THE ABSURDITY

Beatty noted that travel is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve for the average Canadian family. “The high cost of a molecular test can add up to over $ 200 Canadian per person. For a family of four, that adds an additional $ 800 for a trip, a cost that has proven prohibitive for many Canadian families, ”he said.

“To add to this nonsense, the Government of Canada’s website explicitly states that if your trip will last less than 72 hours, you still need to produce proof of a negative test. But you can take the test in Canada before you travel. How does this make sense? “

“Travel is becoming more and more accessible only to business travelers and more affluent families,” Beatty said.

Father of two David Schwartz was also in attendance at the press conference and he described the challenges of traveling as a family these days. For a family of four, PCR testing adds between $ 800 and $ 1,000 to the cost of a trip. “It’s a significant cost and it gives us a break,” he said. During the pandemic, family milestones have been missed, and now the family is looking to reconnect with loved ones. “My grandmother celebrated her 100th and 101st birthday throughout this pandemic and none of us were able to be with her,” Schwartz said. “We are asking the government today to please change the rules … so that we can resume normal life.”

Today’s roundtable briefing and message to the federal government follow a briefing last month outlining how the costs, hassle and confusion of PCR testing are also impacting elderly travelers.


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