Following Ottawa’s announcement that fully vaccinated Canadians will no longer need to quarantine on return to Canada, the dream of experiencing Europe again is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
Europe, for several months now, has been getting ready to welcome back Canadians with safe and unforgettable experiences.
This was the backbone of a campaign the European Travel Commission (ETC), in collaboration with Pax Global Media, launched in March to inspire travel advisors to start planning creative itineraries to Europe for their clients.
The initiative, which has its own landing page here, invites curious travellers to discover Europe’s cultural hubs, rich history and natural beauty.
The goal of the Canada-specific campaign, in partnership with ETC’s member National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), was to “restore confidence and build a distinctive image of Europe as a desirable travel destination for Canadians,” said Miguel Gallego, ETC's Head of Marketing.
Canada ranks third among all out-of-region outbound travel markets for European destinations. In fact, 6.5 million travellers from Canada arrived in Europe in 2019.
ETC even hosted a webinar to provide travel advisors with a groundwork for booking travel, replenish their toolbox and prepare for the recovery.
And the recovery is well on its way.
In Europe, the EU Digital COVID Certificate, a health pass that allows European citizens to travel throughout the bloc’s nations without having to quarantine, is already being issued by several countries. Starting July 1, the pass will be used by all 27 EU member states.
Next month, Canada will launch the first phase of a vaccine certification program for eligible travellers.
The new feature will be added to the ArriveCAN app, a mobile tool, launched last year, that requires travellers to submit their contact information, COVID-19 symptom self-assessment and quarantine plan before boarding their flight to Canada.
Vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents, using the app, will be able to upload an image of their paper or emailed proof of vaccination so border agents can verify that they are, indeed, fully vaccinated.
By fall, Canada will have a national vaccine certification system that will be “easily accepted around the world for people who need to travel internationally,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on June 18.
Travel restrictions in Canada will ease further in a matter of weeks as COVID-19 cases go down and as vaccination rates go up, Trudeau suggested at a press conference on June 22.
Canada is almost there, and European nations, in the meantime, are eagerly preparing for travel’s inevitable return.
What can travel advisors do to prepare for the comeback?
Here are three ways to get your clients ready to experience Europe again.
1. Unlock Europe’s creative cities
The reopening of Europe’s travel scene is effectively positioned for curious travellers who thrive on being creative.
European cities, for one, invite the curious – the adventurers, the dreamers, the ones who like to travel to the beat of their own drum.
After all, Europe’s creativity is steeped in history and tradition.
Travel away from crowds has emerged as a post-pandemic trend, so it’s wise to focus on itineraries that show a new side of Europe, where creativity runs free.
From the tile-adorned alleyways of Porto in Portugal to edible treasures in San Sebastian in Spain, awe-inspiring architecture in Denmark’s Aarhus and future-thinking Linz in Austria (whose cobbled stone streets and Baroque buildings give no clues to the street art and tech thrills in store), Europe’s cities will leave your clients feeling captivated and inspired.
To inspire that next Europe trip, invite clients on a virtual tour of that gallery or museum they can’t wait to visit, or browse a brilliant array of European stories.
Build a grocery list for them of European staples, from fresh pasta to the continent’s creamiest cheeses. It can all be ordered online with just a click of a button.
You can also use this time to compile a playlist of some of Europe’s musical acts and include a list of European wines and beers, for good measure, so clients can toast their next adventure.
To learn more about Europe's many creative forces, click here.
2. Connect clients to their historical roots
History, genealogy and ancestral tours are Europe’s speciality and travel advisors are in a position to design one unforgettable experience.
Like many people, if your clients traced their roots back a few generations, in all likelihood they would find a great-grandmother or great-great-grandfather who was born somewhere on the continent of Europe.
This is an opportunity for your customers to dive deep into who they are, where they came from and who their children and grandchildren will one day be, perhaps.
Once your client has a family tree in place, the next step is planning the visit, which is where you, the travel advisor, comes in.
By guiding your client on a European history trip, they will discover more about their past, and in all likelihood, receive more insight into the present.
While waiting for travel to resume, you, the travel advisor, can get a head start on building that next great itinerary, rooted your client’s family tree.
Click here to learn more.
3. Europe is for enjoying nature & “slow adventure”
Canadians have rediscovered their love for the great outdoors during the pandemic, and for travellers driven by a curiosity for the natural world, Europe is the place to satisfy that desire for discovery.
Nature-lovers enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of their environments, and the term for this trend is “slow adventure,” which is about building itineraries that champion leisurely, immersive journeys in wild places and natural spaces.
It’s self-propelled travel for people who want to move through landscapes at a slow pace, with mindfulness, and reconnect with nature.
Slow travel destinations in Europe have multiple surprises in store for explorers, from wild food and wildlife to taking sanctuary in the great outdoors to enjoying human and nature-powered highlights, all deeply rooted in a sense of place.
Really, it’s an open invitation to see scenery, meet locals, hear their stories and learn about their traditions, philosophy and ways of life.
Whether it’s delicious gastronomy, centuries-old traditions, cinematic scenery, arts and crafts, wonderful people, or the inimitable European approach to life, Europe has it all.
Click here to learn more about slow adventure in Europe.
Visit ETC's exclusive portal for Canadian travel agents here!
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