Anita Spier is a graduate of Mohawk College’s Travel and Tourism program. She purchased Myles Travel in Dundas in 2000 and has also acquired a sister agency in Beamsville. Anita spoke about COVID 19 and its impact on her business. Pre-pandemic, Anita and her team were having an excellent year and were the recipients in 2019 of the travel industry’s Bravo award for exemplary sales (over $7 million). Then COVID brought the industry to a screeching halt. From March 2020 on, there were hundreds of cancellations of trips. Her sales plummeted and she had to lay off all her staff. And in the beginning of the lockdown there were still many people to get back to Canada. It was a spring of challenge, despair and fear.
The federal government assistance programmes allowed Anita to hire back her staff, working from home. Her agents were grateful. She too was grateful for the support and the support of her loyal clients who have returned to book travel for this year and for 2022. While her business is at about 30% of what it was in 2019, Anita feels positive about next year. Her story is one of many: an example of the swings in fortune and a testament to determination and resiliency.
As for European travel at the moment she said that things are open in France and Spain and there are significantly fewer tourists (making visiting pleasurable). However, requirements of masking and social distancing as well as double vaccination and the challenges of the Delta variant keep everyone alert to changing rules and requirements. Anita knows that working with travel professionals helps– and they are able to support the clients with advice and assistance.

The testing requirements pre and post trip are outside the travel industry’s purview. She acknowledges that these tests can be costly (up to $300US per person) but there are increasingly more pharmacies offering the Rapid tests. There is no doubt, however, that travellers must make provision of both time and money to accommodate COVID tests and fulfill government mandates. When Anita spoke to us there were no requirements for double vaccination for airline travel within Canada but as we know the federal government is now enacting new legislation. That is an example of one of the challenges of planning and executing a trip these days. The rules are in flux and there is no central site on the internet to access global information; one must seek information country by country, region by region. Crossing to the United States via land is still closed to most Canadians and the U.S. still does not recognize AstraZeneca as an approved vaccine.

If you are able to go cruising with Viking, you will find that everyone including staff is fully vaxxed and there are spit tests everyday as well as a PCR test to return home as part of the “new” holiday experience. However, this is not included in your package on every cruise line, so check before you plan.
Although the online travel services have been popular, Anita and others feel that many clients recognize and now value the guidance, support and expertise travel agents provide.