Several travel agents are applauding decisions by the likes of tour operators and cruise companies to require clients to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus, saying the moves will help the travel industry get back on its feet.
Many prominent companies have announced they will only accept bookings from adults who have been fully vaccinated, decisions they say will enable people to travel safely with them.
“In order for travel to return to a somewhat normal state, I believe tour operators/cruise companies, etc. need to mandate vaccines across the board,” says Monica Millin of Vancouver-area La Dolce Vita Travel. “Most European countries require you to be vaccinated to enter. I think it is just easier all around if this is the situation.”
But Millin says constant changes to coronavirus guidelines have proven challenging, creating a situation that frequently amounts to a “free for all.”
She’d like to see Canada adopt a standardized vaccine passport similar to the Green Pass in the European Union, something she says would help alleviate client hesitation about booking.
“I realize that for those that cannot be vaccinated — and from what doctors have said, the numbers that absolutely cannot be vaccinated are very, very small — I understand the frustration. However, I also believe this is will be temporary,” Millin adds.
Carolyn O’Reilly of Genesis Vacations in Calgary also welcomes the coronavirus-vaccination trend, saying she “strongly supports” it, particularly when it comes to cruises.
“It is for everyone’s safety, not just passengers but staff as well,” she states. “Maybe this won’t always be necessary but at the moment it is vital.”
O’Reilly adds that she has clients who likely wouldn’t travel if vaccination requirements weren’t in place for the trip.
Roger Boyajian of Sevan Travel in Toronto said he “agrees 100%” that those wanting to travel should be fully vaccinated, adding all the “sacrifices” the industry has made since the start of the pandemic will have been in vain if widespread lockdowns are reimposed because of a resurgent coronavirus.
“Every client agrees with me wholeheartedly and they are reluctant to travel if people are not vaccinated on their flight,” he says.
Boyajian adds that he knows of many other travel agents who favour mandatory vaccinations and believe would-be travellers who choose not to get fully vaccinated “should not be allowed to travel.”
Ontario TPI agent Sheila Aue also backs vaccinations.
“Personally I’m not against tour operators and cruise lines choosing to require all travellers to be vaccinated,” she says. “Science is pointing to the effectiveness of vaccines and these suppliers need to take a stand. It might be a hard stand for some, but in order for some level of resumption of business for this industry, something needs to be done. It may not be a permanent solution, but a necessary one right now.”