TORONTO – A recent survey from the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA) suggests that travel to the United States is in disgrace with Canadians, with European and Caribbean destinations being the most popular places to go after the pandemic.
Although the United States is generally the most popular destination for Canadian travelers, the continued closure of the border has held back tourism and snowbirds eager to return to their winter homes.
But, according to THIA, 79% of Canadians and 90% of seniors said they would not be traveling to the United States this winter, even if their travel health insurance policy covered COVID-19.
Instead, the small poll of 1,000 respondents suggests that Canadians are more interested in visiting European and Caribbean destinations when the pandemic subsides.
But many Canadians are still traveling abroad with confidence amid the pandemic, despite government warnings to avoid non-essential travel.
Elizabeth Teffer Hodgson, a resident of Barrie, Ontario, recently returned from a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, noting that she felt safer and more comfortable traveling than when she was shopping at home.
“I’m 67 years old, I have a lot of travel experience and I thought I wasn’t going to hesitate. I’ll make up my mind, ”she said of the restrictions, speaking to CTVNews.ca by phone Friday.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
By booking with Expedia, Hodgson was able to purchase travel insurance that included coverage for COVID-19 incidents. Several other Canadians wrote to CTVNews.ca to report that they too had taken advantage of this type of travel coverage.
But THIA notes that the travel and travel insurance landscape is changing dramatically in light of the pandemic.
Will McAleer, executive director of the Canadian Travel Health Insurance Association, warns that with the rollout of vaccination programs in Canada and around the world, some countries may soon begin to require proof of vaccination as a condition of Entrance.
“Where are Canadians traveling? Most of the time, they go to countries in the Caribbean that have access to far fewer resources so that they can immunize their populations, ”McAleer told CTVNews.ca by phone.
“As a result, the likelihood that they will want to take extra precautions for those who arrive is likely to arise. ”
This idea, sometimes referred to as an immunity passport, has been widely discussed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But McAleer says it’s still too early to say how that could affect the future of travel.
“Yes, there will probably be some sort of overriding requirement where you are going to have to prove that you have a vaccine in certain countries. The problem is that there is no single standard from governments that have launched vaccination programs, ”he explained.
“We know from our survey that one in four Canadians, or 25%, would be willing to falsely disclose a condition on a questionnaire, so how open would a person be to suggest that they received a vaccine when she does not.
Some frequent travelers say they would be more anxious to get the vaccine if it meant they could travel, such as Kathy Kwasnik, a Winnipeg resident, who has been to Mexico twice amid the pandemic and has booked another trip to the Dominican Republic in January.
“We love to travel, mainly in the winter, and if that is the case, I would receive the vaccine when it was available to the general population,” she told CTVNews.ca by phone Friday.
In the meantime, McAleer says those who choose to travel internationally should go through their travel insurance policies with a fine tooth comb.
“Find out if he has coverage for something related to COVID and make sure you ask whether a travel advisory for a particular country will void that coverage,” he said.