Travel agencies

‘People feel more comfortable’: London area travel agencies see boost

London, Ont. –

After months of confinement and hesitation, a few Londoners are thinking about the trip again.

A clear sign of the change is visible in some local travel agencies where agents have returned to their jobs.

Kelly Balderston, travel agent at Robert Q Travel in London, is back full time and was recently joined by another colleague from her East London satellite office.

“The past 20 months have been a challenge. We hope the worst is over and that at the dawn of the New Year we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Balderston says the light has already started to break through with a sudden mini rush of travelers looking for an escape.

“People feel a lot more comfortable. It’s not at the levels it should be, but it’s starting to bounce back.

COVID-19 has made travel difficult or impossible since March 2020. But with rising vaccination rates, a push for affordable sun destinations is underway.

This time people are not just looking to escape winter, they are looking to escape pandemic reality.

“People now think they just need to go south.”

But arriving in the south, or even abroad, comes with a certain tension.

People are not only worried about catching the virus while they are away, they are also stressed out with the paperwork and tests needed to make sure you don’t have to worry about getting home.

Balderston says concerns have prompted those who have booked travel online themselves in the past to turn to agents.

“When it used to be as easy as booking a plane ticket, now it’s a bit more complex. Each country, same region, has a little different regulations, and it takes us a bit of time to research and make sure people are prepared when they leave the country.

But if you’re ready, Balderston says the prices have made countries like Mexico and Cuba much more affordable than they usually are during the winter months.

And in the case of Cuba, she says the island nation is providing return PCR testing to Canadians for a low rate of $ 30 to $ 35.

All of the incentives have propelled her business to about 75% of pre-pandemic levels, but she says not all agents are seeing those results yet.

She hopes that will change soon, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to rush customers. She is particularly hesitant with those who may not have access to proper insurance or health issues.

“If they seem nervous. Then we really say, “So wait.” Nothing is worse than putting your hard earned money on a trip and then worrying about leaving for the next three months.