Calgarians Still Travel Despite Omicron Rise, Industry Insiders Report

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It appears that many Calgarians are moving ahead with their vacation travel plans despite the international travel warning that has been prompted by the increase in cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

And a Calgary travel agent says many of her clients do it for the sake of their mental health.

It has been over two years since Lazaro Paynor saw his family in the Philippines. So, despite the international travel warning boosted by the Omicron variant, he told CBC News he was making the trip.

He canceled a trip earlier in the pandemic, but says he hasn’t even considered canceling this one.

“It’s a surprise visit for our family. They didn’t know we were coming home,” he said.

Thomas Zellner is also making a great trip. He is preparing to cross Los Angeles on his way home to Melbourne, Australia, after two years in Canada.

He says that although he is somewhat concerned about Omicron, he is very careful.

“We don’t leave the house unless we have to. Obviously we wear our masks and everything. We disinfect whenever we have the chance,” he said.

Calculated risk, mental well-being

According to Sarah Halprin, travel agent at Travel Agent Next Door, people are taking a calculated risk of traveling for pleasure in part for their mental well-being after a punitive global pandemic of nearly two years.

“Not just that – people feel safer in Mexico than in Alberta,” she added. Halprin said most of her clients go on beach vacations where they won’t be stuck indoors from the cold like they are in Alberta.

So far, she says no clients have canceled their trips.

Travel insurance company says Canadians should be wary if they continue to travel internationally despite the federal warning against non-essential international travel.

Pamela Kwiatkowski, co-founder of Goose Insurance, says if you must travel, make sure you’re up to date on vaccines, know local requirements, purchase COVID insurance, and read your contracts.

“The key is every time you book your trip to make sure you understand that before you pay for it what the cancellation policy is for your hotel your tour operator really so really the responsibility of consumers is to read the fine print. “

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