The main observations from 2022 are that the travel industry here and abroad is indeed alive and well, but it has been far from smooth sailing. A seasoned traveller would say that a new reality is upon us, and we all must adapt with patience and empathy.
Multiple challenges – like delays in receiving your passport, flight departure delays, lost or damaged luggage, or service cuts or closings in hotels and restaurants – exist in varying degrees. A domino effect can result, for example, whenever an airport must cut certain activities for lack of resources. This can result in flight cancellations, forcing air carriers to notify affected passengers and travel agencies. At the same time, travel agents must put their new, potential clients on hold while they spend time rescheduling flights, hotel bookings and other related activities for their existing clients.
As a key part of the travel industry, CAA Travel Consultants have certainly had their share of these situations. But rest assured, they will do their utmost to limit the impact on their clients. They are CAA Travel SMART certified and will always ensure that their clients can count on us before, during and after their travels.
If consumers must adjust their travel expectations, the travel industry itself must increase efforts to speed up its pace, despite a diminished and overworked labour force. And if that were not enough, we all must contend with pressing social and environmental challenges. It’s a daunting challenge but not an insurmountable one.
Fortunately, things are already improving. The recent lifting of all COVID-19 measures at the border (like the mandatory use of ArriveCAN, screening rules and mask mandates on planes and trains) has helped make our lives easier. But now, everyone must practice caution. Digital developments are also advancing rapidly. The future is not all gloom and doom.
Good practices to adopt would include renewing your passports well ahead of expiry dates and planning/booking trips with our trusted travel professionals, whose assistance would be invaluable should an emergency occur. (As we’ve seen during the pandemic, problems are apt to crop up.) And to avoid criticism, industry stakeholders, including policymakers, must act in concert. They must solidify the protection of air passengers, for example. The current scope of refunds under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations is limited and risks damaging the credibility of the entire sector. Other countries, especially in Europe, have done better in this regard. Why not follow their example?
With our travel-industry partners, CAA continues to work hard to respond to the dreams and aspirations of our clients. Now more than ever, it’s essential we listen to and learn from what travellers have to say. In this way, we will ensure memorable journeys to come.