The rise in fuel prices and the instability created by the war in Ukraine have not yet had an effect on the price of travel packages, particularly in Mexico and the Caribbean. For Europe, current prices resemble those consumers paid before the pandemic.
Quebecers who intend to forget their daily life on a beach in Mexico, Cuba or the Dominican Republic will not pay more for their package. Prices are currently the same as before the pandemic, observe travel specialists.
“At the end of March and the beginning of April, we are still in high season and, as a rule, it is a very busy period. Current prices for popular destinations like Punta Cana and Riviera Maya are similar to those of 2019,” says Justin Bordeleau, co-owner and vice-president of Voyages Arc-en-ciel, which operates three branches in the Trois-Rivières region. .
“For a nice product in Riviera Maya, Mexico, it costs $1,800 to $2,000, the same prices as in 2019. These are normal high season prices. »
It is certain that prices have risen compared to January 2022 when everything was stopped. But when we compare with 2019, we are still 10 to 15% cheaper. February and early March 2022 prices were 10-15% lower than February 2020, just before the pandemic.
Moscow Côté, President of the Association of Travel Agents of Quebec and General Manager of Voyages Constellation
For Europe, the amount to be paid for a plane ticket has increased slightly. However, current tickets are cheaper than those paid by consumers for their summer 2020 trips… which did not take place.
“There are a lot of connections that have fallen, there are fewer direct flights, so we feel a little pressure, says Justin Bordeleau, of Voyages Arc-en-ciel. A direct flight to Marseille at the end of June in 2019 cost around $1,000. For June 2022, the flight is around $1200. »
The president of the Association of Travel Agents of Quebec does not anticipate a meteoric rise in the price of plane tickets in the coming weeks. “There should be an increase in operating costs, but a decrease in demand because of the war, estimates Moscow Côté. So, I don’t see a significant increase in the price of plane tickets, except for certain specific dates. A tourist who is flexible in his dates will be able to pay his ticket not much more expensive than in 2019.”
Finally go on a trip
“Since the easing of border measures last week, we have seen an increase in pent-up demand for travel to sun destinations. We are also seeing a sharp increase in last-minute winter vacation bookings from Quebec,” observes Marie-Josée Carrière, senior marketing director for Sunwing Travel Group Quebec.
For now, the war in Ukraine has not yet had an effect on bookings in Europe, Transat said when presenting its results for the first quarter of the year.
Over the past week, the pace of reservations was 90% of that of 2019 and it is a percentage that is increasing week after week. And for the summer, we are around 85% of the rate of 2019.
Annick Guérard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat AT
Despite the Omicron wave and the subsequent wave of cancellations for travel to the South at the start of 2022, the month of February has lifted the spirits of travel agencies.
For this second month of the year, the level of new bookings was 50% to 65% of February 2020 figures, just before the pandemic. However, the number of vacation take-offs represented 35% of those in February 2020, reports Moscow Side.
“Confidence is being restored among travelers, but it’s not Peru,” said Justin Bordeleau. He says that if travel advisors are so overwhelmed by the current surge in demand, it’s because of the reduced staff. As the industry has been battered by the pandemic, some employees have moved into other areas.
Consumers want to talk to a human being
According to industry players, consumer booking habits have changed. In 2019, in the pre-COVID-19 era, people were booking an average of 60 days before departure, even up to five months among those with fixed date holidays in March and summer. Currently, consumers book on average 20 days before the take-off date.
Habits have also changed in the way of booking a trip, notes Justin Bordeleau, who specifies that before the pandemic, more than half of Canadian travelers bought their product online.
“We have customers who used to book online without asking too many questions. There, people have questions about entry and exit conditions, health protocols and pre-return tests. We feel that people want to talk to a travel consultant to get answers. »
The specialist recalls that even if there have been reductions in the face of the pandemic, certain issues persist and travelers must be well informed before flying.