COVID-19 and What It Means for Discover Canada Tours

COVID-19

Update March 16th, 2020 – 5:00pm

With the travel restrictions that have been put into place, both by the Government of Canada and many countries around the world, Discover Canada Tours will be suspending all scheduled tours with immediate effect. While this was an incredibly difficult decision for us to have made, we feel that it is the most responsible course of action considering the current state of COVID-19. Starting March 17th, 2020, we will be suspending all tours until April 17th, 2020. We plan to run our Rockies Classic Tour on April 17th. As new information regarding COVID-19 becomes available, we will be updating our guests.

We want to reassure our guests that we take matters of safety with the utmost importance. For all tours falling within these dates, we will offer our guests a 100% credit towards a new tour at a later stage. We urge our guests to consider the 100% credit toward a tour of your choice. You will need to book your travel by Dec. 31, 2021 for any tour departing up until December 31, 2022. 

This pandemic is taking the world by storm, but we are confident that this will pass. We would love you to join us on an adventure once the storm has settled. We do understand, however, that if you would prefer a full refund, we will be able to accommodate you.

For tours outside the suspended dates, please refer to our Terms and Conditions.

For all tour rescheduling and cancellations, please call us on +1(604)689-8128 ext 135. You can also email us on info@discovercanadatours.com. 

For media queries, please contact +1(604)689-8128 ext 129.

Update March 13th, 2020 – 12:00pm

Discover Canada Tours to Suspend Our Seattle Sightseeing and Seattle Ultimate Temporarily

In light of the press conference by Dr. Bonnie Henry on March 12th, 2020, Discover Canada Tours has cancelled all tours to Seattle until the end of March. Dr. Henry has strongly advised that persons residing in Canada avoid all non-essential international travel, including to the USA.

 

As the safety and well-being of our guests is paramount, we feel that this is the most prudent decision at the moment.

 

For those that have booked one of our Seattle Tours there are 3 options that we can offer you. First, if you have booked a Seattle Trip in March, we are offering a $120 credit towards a Winter Rockies Classic Tour. Secondly, if you can’t make our Rockies adventure, we are offering a $90 credit towards a Victoria tour for the same weekend that you were originally booked for. Finally, should you not be able to make one of these tours, you can call into the office and speak to one of our agents who will help you with a full refund on your trip. Our office number is (604) 689 8128 or tollfree on 1(855) 689 8128.

 

For all rebooking’s or cancellations, please contact our offices either by phone or come in and we will make the changes for you.

 

Please note that the cancellations are ONLY on our Seattle tours, and all other tours are operating as per usual.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us either via phone or email us on info@discovercanadatours.com.

 

Our thoughts are going out to all those that have been affected by COVID-19. We want to assure everyone affected by the virus that we are with you even in the hardest times, and you can always count on our support.

Update March 7th, 2020 – 1:45pm

The CDC recommends the following to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, which include both coronaviruses and flu viruses: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home when you are sick; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. (Live Science)

“Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam noted Friday that most of the cases in Canada have been mild, and the patients are self isolating at home. About seven people are in hospital, but she said that doesn’t necessarily mean they are severely ill, adding that Canada is well equipped to deal with the outbreak.

“This includes a woman in her 80s who was taken to Vancouver General Hospital in critical condition, but has since stabilized.” (Victoria News)5

Public health officials in Canada still maintain that Canada is a low risk country.

“Canadian researchers are developing a “lab-in-a-box” that could make it cheaper and faster to diagnose cases of the novel coronavirus, particularly in remote areas of the world.

“The project received $1 million from the International Development Research Centre as part of the $27 million in coronavirus research the federal government announced Friday.” (CTV)6

We are monitoring the situation classily.

Update March 6th, 2020 – 2:50pm

At 12:00pm, BC Premier John Horgan gave an announcement to press with the new response plan to COVID-19. At the time of writing this, the total number of COVID-19 cases in BC has risen to 21.

“We have been leading the way with respect to containment and processes in place to protect citizens from COVID-19,” B.C. Premier John Horgan said. “Up until recently B.C. had tested more people than the entire United States.”

The plan includes expanding sites where COVID-19 tests can be done, expanding testing capacity, increasing the advice businesses will receive around protecting staff, ensuring resources are in place if health facilities are maxed out with positive cases, and providing support to family physicians and community-based specialists. (Global News) 4

Introduction to COVID-19 and Discover Canada Tours

COVID-19, first identified in the Wuhan Province in China in late 2019, has spread incredibly fast, not only through China, but it is starting to affect other countries around the world. With this being said, is there a reason for us to worry that this is the end of days? Is the new series by Steven King, The Stand, coming true? As a side note, the series is currently filming in Vancouver. This series, together with the rest of the film and TV industry that Vancouver has become so famous for, is going ahead, business as usual. We think that speaks volumes in itself.

Canada’s health authorities still have Canada ranked as a low-risk area, and the spread of the virus is minimal. At the time of writing this, there are currently 13 cases in BC and only 34 in all of Canada with no deaths. 

Globally the mortality rate of COVID-19 is ~3.6%. Those at the highest risk are individuals over the age of 80. In the age range of 10 to 50 years old, the predicted mortality rate is less than 1% for infected people. For those between the ages of 50 and 70, the predicted mortality rate is ~2%. Individuals at a higher risk are those with compromised immune systems.1

To put this into perspective, in 2003, SARS had a mortality rate of 10%, and in 2008/2009, MERS had a mortality rate of 34%2. Yes, there were fewer deaths, and yes again, there were fewer people infected. But overall, COVID-19 is less fatal.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Travel Industry

The uncertainty of the virus is indeed hitting the tourism industry. There has been a lot of fear mongering through social media and people should to cross-reference any information they hear to get the actual truth.

With an epidemic such as this, fear is going to be high. But countries are taking the threat very seriously. Certain countries are limiting travel, and Canada itself has a list of countries with Travel Advice and Advisories3.

Honestly, yes, we are feeling it. We are getting more queries about cancellations and the ability to move tours. We have revised our cancellation policies, which can be seen below.

The Surprising Case of a State of Emergency in Washington State

Washington State has had a few cases of COVID-19, with ten reported deaths to date. Many of these cases and deaths have been reported at a single care home. This has caused quite the stir this side of the border. While we are not worried about the virus, we have seen a flux of cancellations for our Seattle tours. Much of our ESL market is being told not to travel to Seattle, not in fear of contracting the virus, but rather the issues that could crop up at the border. 

As this is the case, we have revised our cancellation policy specifically for Seattle tours.

What Does This Mean for Discover Canada Tours?

We are moving along and going about business as we usually would. We do not fear the virus in the sense of spreading it far and wide. We are taking precautions on the tours for travellers and for individuals that do fall sick. These policies and procedures are in play. All of our guides are trained for situations that may arise.

It is very important to note that we have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination on our tours. We understand that people are fearful but it is not acceptable to discriminate against people of certain racial backgrounds pertaining to where the virus is most prevalent. The guests that have joined our tours will have been screened both in their countries that they had left from as well as when they landed in Canada. These screening procedures are in place for a reason. 

What is the New Cancellation Policy?

In light of the global concern, we have updated our cancellation policies. Effective immediately for tours departing until April 17th.

For overnight tours within Canada (excluding Yukon)

  • Up to 30-days in advance – 100% credit to rebook to another date. If it is not possible to reschedule, we will provide a full refund – this has changed from the regular 60 days in advance.
  • 30-15 days in advance – 100% credit to rebook to another date or receive a 50% refund on your original payment
  • Within 14-days – non-refundable

For our Yukon adventures, we will work closely with our suppliers to ensure that we are able to give you the maximum refund possible.

While we have tried to lower our cancellation periods needed, unfortunately, not all of our suppliers have the same policies as us, which is why the trip is still non-refundable within 14 days.

Our day tours within Canada cancellation policies remain the same – more 7 days in advance, a full refund will be applied minus the 10% non-refundable administrative fee per passenger. If you cancel within 7 days before departure, your tour is 100% non-refundable.

Due to the State of Emergency that has been declared in Washington State, the most significant change in our policy comes into effect around these tours.

For the 1-Day Seattle Tour, we will offer 100% credit that you can apply to another tour if the trip is cancelled at least 72 hours in advance. On booking another tour we will refund the difference in price if the new tour is less than the cost of the original Seattle 1-Day Tour. Within 72 hours, there will be no refund applicable due to supplier costs.

For the 2-Day and 3-Day Seattle Ultimate Tour, we will offer 100% credit that you can apply to another tour and refund the difference in price if the other trip costs less only if the tour is cancelled at least one week in advance. No-refund within one week as this is due to the hotel policy right now still charging us.

For the cancellation policy after April 17th, please see our Terms and Conditions.

So, Where Does This Leave Us?

There have been tragedies and crises over the years that have impacted travel and tourism severely. But after each incident, the industry bounces back even better! 

We are here, and we are most definitely not going anywhere! We are still launching our brand new tours this summer, and we are always in the process of developing new products that will be available in 2021. If you have any questions you would like answered about COVID-19 and our company stance on it, please feel free to email media@discovercanadatours.com.

We look forward to seeing you on one of our tours in the not too distant future.

Final Thoughts

Our thoughts are going out to all those that have been affected by COVID-19. We would like to assure everyone affected by the virus that we are with you even in the hardest times and you can always count on our support.

1 https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/

2 https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m641

3  https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

4 https://globalnews.ca/news/6641644/b-c-coronavirus-covid-19-update/

5 https://www.vicnews.com/news/6-new-covid-19-cases-in-b-c-including-outbreak-at-care-home/

6 https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/canada-funds-development-of-covid-19-lab-in-a-box-1.4843150

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>