A recent survey conducted by the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA) found that 40 per cent of Canadians believe the government should remove travel advisories to the U.S. and reopen the border to make travel to America easier. The survey also revealed that the U.S. is the top travel destination for Canadians when restrictions are eased.
Vaccinated Canadians are twice as likely to travel internationally this year. While the vaccine rollout continues across the country, nearly one-third (31 per cent) of unvaccinated survey respondents said they would get vaccinated if it was required for travel.
“This has been the longest border closure in history, with a level three travel advisory that has been in place for more than a year. It’s time to put a safe border-reopening plan into action and view international vaccination requirements for travel as a way of overcoming vaccine-hesitancy,” says Will McAleer, THIA’s Executive Director and spokesperson. “Anyone considering travelling outside of Canada needs to understand travel requirements and the importance of proper vaccination documentation as well as whether their health insurance will enable them to have a carefree vacation.”
Canadians’ desire to travel to the U.S. had declined in recent years, but these survey findings show that the U.S. is the most popular first travel destination for Canadians, based on proximity to avoid air travel and the country’s vaccination rollout. According to the survey:
- 37% of Canadians indicated that the U.S. is the first place they plan to travel outside of Canada;
- 33% of respondents said they were more likely to travel to the U.S. after the pandemic, than before;
- 47% attribute their interest in travelling to the U.S. to the success of the American vaccine rollout;
- 46% of respondents say their preferred mode of travel is by vehicle (car, van, or camper), which makes the U.S. a convenient destination.
When the time comes to reopen the border and lift the travel advisory, it will be more important than ever to ensure travellers understand their travel health insurance policy. Canadians are also taking more interest in researching their coverage options and what their current plan offers in advance of booking their trip. Seventy-four per cent of respondents said they are more likely to review their travel health insurance coverage now, following the pandemic, than ever before. THIA recommends always following the golden rules of travel health insurance before you leave for your vacation:
- Know your policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies. Make sure to ask your provider about extended coverage options for COVID-19, recent policy updates or changes, and what additional benefits apply to you if you have the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Know your health – Consult a health care provider if you have any questions.
- Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
- Know your rights – The Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities.
The 2021 Smart Traveller Survey was conducted in June 2021, polling 1,500 responses across Canada, ranging from ages 18 to 60+.
Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA) is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field.
— Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA)