We want to paint a picture for you.
Imagine you’re at a gathering with friends and acquaintances. It’s a fairly large group, let’s say around 15-20 people. Just as you begin to get hungry, someone brings out a large, layered cake. It’s smothered in rich, chocolate buttercream frosting – multiple ooh’s and ahh’s are uttered around the room! But, someone points out a big problem; the venue only has 2 forks, a few plates and no knife to cut the cake with. This cake is absolutely big enough to feed all of these hungry party-goers, but what good is that without the supplies needed to appropriately dispense this delicious dessert to everyone who wants it?
If you haven’t already caught on, we’re not really talking about cake – although that does sound good right now, doesn’t it?
It is widely known that the travel industry has been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, suffering more than most other sectors. The pandemic has forced airlines, hotels, and travel agencies to drastically reduce their services and lay off employees. As a result, the travel industry has suffered a significant financial and labour loss and is still dealing with significant hardships. Meanwhile, global tourism in 2023 is expected to reach approximately 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the tourism recovery outlook issued by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. While this is great news, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy journey getting there – and this is where our analogy with the large cake and finite number of utensils comes in.
You have likely already experienced this yourself if you’ve travelled in the past year. “We’re seeing flights being cancelled because they’ve only filled about 50% of the seats onboard, and then merging those tickets with other flights with similar low occupancy” says Shauna Cook, one of our Travel Consultants, who specializes in travel to northern Canadian destinations, such as Churchill, MB and Scandinavian countries. “In some cases, my clients have been waiting over an hour to retrieve their baggage, which is understandable when airports and airlines are still dealing with staffing issues, but it can be incredibly frustrating for all travellers.”
The aviation field is heavily regulated. Commercial planes must follow the guidelines of the Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP) established by the Transport Canada Civil Aviation Directorate (TCCA). This program requires that aircrafts complete inspections, commonly referred to as “checks,” regularly to ensure compliance. Because of these regulations and a lack of people to oversee these jobs, there is a significant backlog of planes still needing to be certified before they hit the air. All of these components make for limited and often more expensive fares.
And it’s not just the airline industry reeling from the uptick in demand and low staffing levels. Many hotels have been forced to cut back on their housekeeping services, some hotel restaurants have shortened business hours and limited menus, and in many cases the quality of service may be compromised because employees are working longer hours or taking on additional responsibilities beyond what they would have done before the pandemic. Currently, there are roughly one-third less travel agents globally than there were in 2019.
As a business, we have always valued openness and honesty. We’re thankful and thrilled to be receiving so much business – but the reality is we’re struggling to keep up with the workload. You may have seen the disclaimer on the homepage of our website:
”Due to overwhelming demand, our travel agency is unable to process requests as usual. We are doing our best to accommodate everyone, but the volume of requests is simply too high for us to keep up with.”
Globally, the number of travel agents has decreased by approximately one-third compared to 2019, but the good news is that it’s all uphill from here. Using a travel agency in a post (are we saying that yet?) pandemic world can have several benefits, including access to up-to-date information on travel restrictions and safety protocols, assistance with rebooking or cancelling trips if necessary, personalized travel planning and recommendations, and potentially better deals and discounts. Travel agents can also provide peace of mind and save time by handling all the details and logistics of a trip, allowing travelers to focus on enjoying their vacation. Starting a career in the travel industry is a lucrative opportunity, and this is common knowledge.
Please be patient with us as we put in extra effort to ensure our valued customers reach their desired destinations. Let’s work together and make this industry thrive again – so everyone who wants a piece of cake, gets one!