Travel industry braces for busy winter season as Canadian travelers brace for sunshine | Tech US News

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Travel agents are predicting a busy season ahead, saying Canadians are ready to visit top sunshine destinations after two winters of COVID-19 restrictions kept many at home.

Although airfares have remained steady so far, experts predict a rise in prices for fall and winter flights as demand returns.

They said demand could increase further if remaining COVID-19 restrictions, such as vaccine mandates, are lifted, encouraging travelers who were previously hesitant to fly because of the restrictions.

“I think the combination of all those things will drive travel through the roof, more so than before the pandemic,” said Martin Firestone, president of insurance company Travel Secure Inc.

Firestone said the potential influx of commuters could cause repeated delays and disruptions. Flight disruptions and chaos at wider airports this summer have often been blamed on staff shortages everywhere from border guards to flight attendants.

This has led some airlines to increase efforts to attract and retain staff to meet expected demand.

However, as demand from travelers begins to approach pre-pandemic levels, the question is whether airline staff can match.

“The problem is that a lot of people haven’t gone back into the industry,” Firestone said. “You don’t push a button and suddenly find pilots.”

Other experts agree that it is more difficult to plan for an increase in passengers since the pandemic began. Sandra Webber, director of communications, content strategy and social media at Travel Brands, said this is because there is a higher proportion of last-minute travel than the industry is used to.

Without the usual six-month deadline, he said, it’s more difficult to hire additional staff when needed.

“That has affected everything a little bit because it’s more of a challenge to determine when travelers book their travel for each season,” Webber said.

Flight and hotel prices are subject to availability, and as winter travel to sunny destinations fills up, travelers looking to get a good deal on flights are advised to book well in advance to avoid price spikes.

Despite that, Canadians seem willing to pay the high price as booking trends show people are spending more on their travel, Webber said.

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