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 — The list of suppliers offering peace of mind with COVID-19 insurance coverage just got a little longer with the addition of a tour operator and a cruise line.
Cuba specialist Hola Sun, and Greek island and Eastern Med cruise line Celestyal Cruises, have both added free COVID-19 insurance coverage to their product lineup.
Since Emirates first got the ball rolling with free COVID-19 insurance back in July, more airlines and then tour operators, resort companies, destinations and travel retailers have come onboard.
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Transat, ACV, Flight Centre, the D.R., Palladium Hotel Group and Sandals & Beaches Resorts have all announced COVID-19 insurance plans in recent weeks. Coverage is typically complimentary and included with the booking.
That’s in addition to the COVID-19 coverage announced by the insurance companies themselves, including Manulife, Blue Cross, Allianz Global Assistance and more.
While many clients are wary of travelling amid the pandemic, others are booking trips, and the insurance coverage goes a long way to ease concerns. Agents say they’re in favour of anything that can help jump-start bookings amid the pandemic.
Here’s a look at the new offerings from Hola Sun and Celestyal:
HOLA SUN HOLIDAYS
Hola Sun’s COVID-19 coverage is now offered on all vacation packages and air only bookings at no extra cost.
The free coverage offer is valid for new bookings made Oct. 15 – Nov. 15, 2020, for departures Dec. 3, 2020 – May 31, 2021, for stays up to 21 days.
Maximum coverage is $200,000 combined for all expenses
related to COVID-19 and related complications.
More details can be found here.
In July 2020 Hola Sun announced its was teaming up with new airline OWG, with dedicated flights to Cuba on B737-400s. The Cuba-bound flights are scheduled to start Nov. 1, 2020. Cuba reopened to Canadian travellers on July 1, first to the cayos and now to Varadero as well.
Says Hola Sun: “We trust that this new coverage, along with the safety measures implemented by our new airline OWG and by our hotel partners will help you to send your clients to Cuba with full confidence.”
Celestyal has announced it will provide free travel insurance for all new, individual bookings made from now through Nov. 30, 2020 for sailings March – June 2021. The cruise line says the included policy is provided by Allianz Global Assistance and includes coverage of medical/hospitalization expenses, including those associated with COVID-19. Coverage includes transportation costs to the nearest hospital and travel costs to the next port of call, if required, as well as travel expenses to return home due to illness, if required, and reimbursement for any unused portion of a cruise. For an additional fee, passengers can opt to upgrade their policy to also include trip cancellation coverage.
In mid-July Celestyal Cruises made what it called the “difficult but prudent” decision to suspend all sailings until the start of the 2021 season. Celestyal’s first sailing of the 2021 season will be on March 6, 2021 on board its new flagship, the Celestyal Experience, with the seven-night ‘Three Continents’. Beginning on April 3, 2021 the Celestyal Experience will set sail on the seven-night ‘Idyllic Aegean’ itinerary. For a limited period, all-inclusive launch pricing starts at US$699 per person for an Inside Stateroom and the new Sana Wellness Junior Suites at $1,849 per person. Celestyal has also reduced the deposit required to $199 per stateroom.
“We are extremely optimistic about the future of cruising and are truly excited to introduce our guests to our newest addition to the fleet, the Celesytal Experience. We recognize that concerns surrounding the pandemic still exist, and we want to help put our guests at ease when booking with us for voyages during the first half of next year,” says Leslie Peden, Chief Commercial Officer, Celestyal Cruises.
Peden adds: “We’re proud to be one of the first in cruising to offer complimentary COVID travel insurance coverage along with very attractive all-inclusive introductory pricing to help restore their confidence in booking that dream vacation that they likely had to put on hold this past year as a result of the pandemic.”