When can we start travelling overseas again? - THE CANADIAN PRESS
MAY 04, 2021
Itching to travel again? You're not alone.
One Ottawa travel agency says people are booking Caribbean and resort vacations for as early as this September and cruises are quickly filling up for next year.
"A lot of people are booking now because they've had their first vaccine," said Carolyn Pernari, president of Centrum Travel-CWT Vacations. "Everyone's just feeling more comfortable to take that plunge."
In the past month, Pernari said, she's seen a big jump in overseas vacation bookings, especially for fall and winter 2021. Cruises are in hot demand for 2022 while Canadians are also planning domestic travel.
"It's been related to the actual vaccination rollout, for sure. People just think that they're going to be vaccinated by September, so that they're going to be safe to travel after that."
People are mainly booking packages in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico, Pernari said. There are also more reservations for yachts and smaller resorts, and some couples are booking destination weddings.
"One of our agents is booking probably 10 vacations a day. She's very, very busy," Pernari said.
Once quarantine travel rules change, Pernari thinks demand for travel will jump even more.
But will travel be safe?
Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor with the University of Ottawa, said he doesn't foresee leisure travel happening on a large scale until people get their second vaccine dose.
In Canada, where gaps are as long as four months between shots, that means no travel until the fall.
"That's the way it should work. But I don't have a lot of faith in policy makers to do what should be happening," said Deonandan. "So I wouldn't be surprised if somehow we started opening up travel to those who've only had one shot."
Even if the population is well vaccinated, there will still be risks from variants and new COVID-19 cases, said Deonandan.
There will have to be vaccine passports. I don't see a way around it. - Raywat Deonandan, epidemiologist
"Vaccination is not a bulletproof vest," he said. "Because you're vaccinated doesn't mean you can't become a carrier and bring infection back."
The risk level of the destination also matters, said Deonandan, and travel to the U.S. could be "fairly robust" by September and October if both countries have low case counts and high vaccination rates.
"There should be public health control and surveillance," he said. "There will have to be vaccine passports. I don't see a way around it."