Travel

Travel advisors breathe a sigh of relief as entry testing for COVID-19 ends

When asked how they or their clients felt about the removal of COVID-19 testing requirements in the US, travel consultants kept repeating one word: relief.

“Every guest I spoke to breathed a sigh of collective relief,” said Becky Smith, owner of Becky’s Travel Biz, a TRAVELSAVERS affiliate.

Richard Steiff, owner of the Cruise Planners franchise, supported Smith. “Customers are just starting to apply. The general opinion is a sense of relief!”

And Justin Smith, president of The Evolved Traveler, a member of the Ensemble Travel Group, told TMR: “I think the removal of COVID testing has been a sigh of relief as well as any tangible results.”

Jamie Jones, president of Signature’s member agency WhirlAway Travel, said the news of the cancellation was the best news she could get on Friday morning. “Our customers were so happy to hear that the testing requirement has been lifted. We didn’t have to ask a lot of questions – most of them got it straight away.”

Dream Vacations franchise owner Rhonda Day and Penny Rushing, owner of the independent agency Four Points Travel, part of the Avoya Network, agreed.

“My clients who are planning a trip this summer are thrilled,” Day said. “For months I’ve been telling guests that we hope it will be soon, but as the days kept rolling on I started to wonder.”

“My clients are thrilled,” Rushing said.

Cause for concern
The feeling of relief is understandable. Both Stiff and Jones have mentioned being stuck overseas recently due to positive COVID-19 tests.

In Jones’ case, she and her mother were stuck in Slovenia for five days after her mother tested positive. They had travel reports, and Jones enjoyed exploring Slovenia while her mother was recovering.

For Aunt Stiff, the extension cost $4,000 because she had trip cancellation protection.

This is something that many customers worry about.

“Next month we are going on a trip on the Princess ship to Alaska, and the biggest fear that most of the guests had was when we flew back from Vancouver. allowed to fly home,” Becky Smith told Travel Market Report.

In fact, some clients opted for a five-hour ground transfer from Vancouver to Seattle before flying home to avoid the testing requirement.

Easier in customer service
The end of inbound testing requirements has not only brought relief to consultants and clients. It also made the job of the consultants a little easier.

“It definitely makes my job easier because I don’t have to advise my clients on how and where to take the test and what documentation is needed,” Rushing told TMR.

“I had a lot of “what if” questions from the guests, so they are finally put on hold,” said Becky Smith.

“I have no doubt that things will be easier,” Stiff added.

But Day said there’s more…

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