Travel is back. I know that my home airport, BWI, is reporting increases in passengers when compared to pre-COVID numbers, so that is good. The war between the CDC and the cruise lines appears to be ending. Together, the travel industry should be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. But with that relief, comes some added responsibilities for the travel professional.
Remember when Vax was just that travel portal we used to book trips? Well now, post-COVID, it has an entirely different meaning and one we need to track. Combined with all the other data we need to collect from a client, vaccination status will be the newest.
And like everything in this crazy industry we all love, it is not as simple as it seems. Every nation and in some cases some jurisdictions within a nation have set their own policies for who can and cannot visit.
Some will require a negative COVID test. Others will require a quarantine. And increasingly, many have adopted a “no shots, no entry” policy.
Anguilla initially said that you could come in if you test negative for COVID-19. But after case counts went up, it tightened restrictions. Beginning July 1, you must have been vaccinated three weeks before you arrive.
Many other Caribbean nations have the same policy—St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Barts to name three.
The website Afar.com, has a constantly updated list of countries that allow U.S. travelers who have been vaccinated currently including:
- British Virgin Islands
- French Polynesia (Tahiti)
- Republic of Georgia
As we navigate travel in this new environment, we will run into issues. We now must be checking the vaccination requirements for each destination (including those that clients might be transiting through) and advise the client that the vaccination (and proof) will be required.
Alternately, astute agents will add a vaccination status field to their CRM programs to track this and any others going forward. While we cannot require it (HIPAA and all), the client can offer the information to us which will allow future bookings to be a little easier.
Moving forward, it is a given that our industry will become more and more challenging in any number of ways. The introduction of required vaccines, the health safety of various destinations, differing requirements amongst travel suppliers, and general cautiousness of clients will all play a large role in our work in the future.
But if there ever was an industry that is adept at pivoting (and let’s be honest, if we never hear that word again, it will be too soon) than the travel industry. There will be challenges for sure, but now that the travel pipeline is opening up again, with proper preparation, we will be ready to man the helm.