Here’s what I wrote to Marc Garneau, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister

Greetings from Bregenz, Austria!

Just a few more days here before I head down to Florence and Cortona to further prepare for our Tuscany LiveAway programs in 2022. It’s been a delight to be here in Austria and see old friends that I haven’t seen in ages, but I’m quite keen to get moving again and get a few things sorted out.

It seems that regarding travel on a broader level there are quite a few things that need sorting out, such as the challenges Canadian travellers are facing regarding travel insurance and the blanket advisory against non-essential international travel from the Canadian government.

These two issues are quite closely related, as that advisory makes getting travel insurance very difficult. So in the interests of creating some movement, I sat down this week and wrote a short letter regarding the blanket advisory to Marc Garneau, our Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister.

You can find the letter here:

The essence of it is that while the blanket advisory was wise in the early days of the pandemic, the situation now nearly two years is in is different, and I believe we deserve a more nuanced, considered approach to the issue that will allow Canadians to travel to places where the risks are relatively low.

We are, on the whole, one of the most highly vaccinated populations on the planet, and I daresay generally reasonable people. Other comparable countries like our friends in Europe and to the south are regularly updating and changing their advisories based on the changing situation in various places, and this is the kind of approach I believe we should be taking as well.

If the reason for the blanket ban were to prevent Canadian travellers from bringing it back in, I could see at least some rationale, but for this to be the case our borders should be closed to all, and they are not.

So, I think we should trade the hammer and nail approach for one with a little more nuance, and work together with Canadian travellers and travel companies to figure out how to navigate the situation.

Your thoughts on this are of course most welcome; I do not pretend to have all the answers, but rather am trying to nudge things toward a direction that will allow travellers to do their thing safely. The worst outcome in my books would be for Canadian travellers to be unable to get insurance due to the advisory, go anyway, and then end up sick or worse with massive medical bills abroad.

This is what’s at stake here, and it’s a fairly big deal to me. The whole insurance picture is a bit of a mess, in part due to the advisory, and yet I’d hate to see people take unnecessary risks on this front. We’ve put together a document with a few guidelines regarding insurance that you can find in your newsletter or here. It’s not comprehensive – as the landscape is changing and there are limits to what kind of advice we can give – but hopefully it is helpful for those with more questions than answers.

Challenging times on all of this! But I contend that we are up for the challenge. I see a rosy future coming our way, and will continue preparing some fun things to do and places to go for whenever these details get sorted. Two of those places we’ll be talking about in next week’s webinar on Namibia & Botswana…join us to see some of Africa’s most spectacular scenery and find out what we’ll do while we’re there.

Be well and be safe my friends…our time approaches.


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