It’s one thing to know that travel agent associations are lobbying the government on agents’ behalf. It’s another to actually hear it and see it in action.
TORONTO — Last year was all about the micro-cation, quick and easy getaways that catered specifically to travellers with busy lifestyles. Fast-forward to a year and a global pandemic later and the focus has shifted to long-stay vacations that last upwards to a month or even longer.
With government quarantines still in place in Canada and around the world, not to mention the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border to at least Nov. 21, two- or three-day trips are hard to pull off in the midst of COVID-19 travel restrictions. But for those who can easily spare the two weeks of quarantine in destination and upon their return home, or who wish to work remotely for an extended period of time, long stays can help fulfill the travel void that the pandemic has left in its wake.
In new research from more than 20,000 travellers across 28 countries and territories, Booking.com found that 33% of Canadian travellers have already considered booking somewhere to stay in order to work from a different destination, while 43% would be willing to quarantine if they could work remotely. Moreover, 50% of Canadians said they would take the opportunity to extend business trips to also enjoy leisure time in destination.
The interest is certainly there, but are the bookings?
Cindy Gaudet, owner of a Fareconnect.com storefront agency in Winnipeg, tells Travelweek that the Caribbean has been selling for both long and short stays, especially now with various suppliers allowing for cancellations within a certain number of days prior to departure. For long stays in particular, the two most popular destinations right now are Puerto Vallarta (three- to five-week stays) and Cabo San Lucas (up to five months).
Gaudet credits both destination’s efficient healthcare systems for their long-stay appeal and recommends them for their ideal accommodation options.
“These bookings are either for all-inclusives or condo rentals,” she says. “All-inclusive properties have spent millions to reassure clients that they have the proper measures in place. As for condo long stays, it’s very easy to be able to follow all measures and make it feel like home.”
Travelweek also checked in with destinations, suppliers and other agencies to see whether they’ve seen an increase in long-stay bookings in recent months. To read what Anguilla, TravelOnly, Canlink and Flight Centre Canada had to say, click here for this week’s issue of Travelweek.