Exclusive: After The Fever Breaks

At a time when the world has been turned upside down and each and every one of us is searching for a way to move forward, tripcentral.ca’s Richard Vanderlubbe provides some thought-provoking ideas that the industry may want to pack on its journey to recovery.

In a three-part series that begins in this week’s issue of Canadian Travel Press, Vanderlubbe sets the scene, with some timely observations and advice about government travel advisories and the changes that need to be made to them.

Amidst a whirlwind of government travel advisories, supplier policy decisions, requests that Canadians stay home, the grounding of aircraft and the closing of all of tripcentral.ca’s retail locations and laying off all but a small core of its travel advisors, Richard Vanderlubbe sat down and put pen to paper or more accurately, fingers to keyboard.

In putting down his thoughts, Vanderlubbe — a former ACTA-Ontario president, as well as former TICO board member and chair and current ACTA board member – covers a wide range of issues, including:

  • The need to establish a permanent industry advisory board to work with the federal government on travel advisories and other industry issues.
  • Suggestions for changes that would involve revamping the government travel advisory website; including departure date windows on all such advisories; providing agents, operators and others in the industry with an API data feed so they have immediate access to all advisories.
  • Making all Canadians travelling outside the country register using a ‘one click’ process at the time they book their travel.
  • How to remove the financial risks for the travel trade that come with each and every government travel advisory.
  • Post-COVID-19, Vanderlubbe believes that “the perceived price of travel just got more expensive.”
  • He asks: Who takes the hit? Will it be destinations, cruising, outbound or inbound travel or all forms of travel?
  • Advance Purchase … Non-refundable … the old model is dead … so what’s the new model?
  • Transmissible diseases, cancellation, repatriation … the cost of insuring travellers in future.
  • Travel agency compensation – proven value, time and time again – how it needs to change to reflect the service that retailers provide to both suppliers and their customers.

Vanderlubbe says that the industry was “blindsided” by the federal government’s announcement that Canadians should either postpone or cancel their travel plans for March Break.

He writes: “[The] Friday afternoon prior to March Break was a poor time to make this announcement. It caused mayhem and put the industry and consumers in a state of uncertainty because … it was not an outright grounding or ban on international travel.”

For the full story, check out this week’s issue of Canadian Travel Press.