Should all travel companies post COVID positivity reports?

Due to the CDC’s conditional sailing order, which has now ended its mandatory program, cruise ships became the only segment of the travel industry that was required to provide information on positivity rates to the COVID-19 on board ships.

In December, when the Omicron variant was spreading faster than any other variant seen before, cruise ships became the only segment of the industry under fire from the COVID-19 outbreaks, as they were the only ones to release information. About them.

This has led to ships being turned away from ports due to disease outbreaks, the cancellation of cruises, a new CDC warning in late December advising Americans not to take cruises in the near future, and new requirements in vaccines that require travelers to have received their booster. dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to navigate.

Royal Caribbean shared an update on the impact of Omicron in late December: of the 1.1 million passengers aboard its cruises, 1,745 of them tested positive (a positivity rate of 0, 02%) and 42 passengers had to be hospitalized.

As outbreaks appear to be improving in many parts of the world, including the United States, why aren’t other segments of the travel industry sharing their COVID-19 positivity rates?

No other segment of the industry, whether hotels and resorts, tour operators or even airlines, is required to publish data on COVID-19 positivity or infection rates. hospitalization, and yet that is exactly what a tour operator did.

Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) offers highly personalized small group trips to destinations around the world for active travelers typically over the age of fifty. With local guides, included excursions and meals, and authentic and enriching experiences with culture and history, OAT has been helping travelers learn about the world and its people since 1978.

He recently sent a letter to all of his past and current travelers detailing the COVID-19 positivity rate on his travels and what happens if someone tests positive while on a trip. Since July 1, 2021, the tour operator has welcomed 11,000 travelers on trips around the world. Of these travelers, 102 of them tested positive, with zero hospitalizations. That’s a positivity rate of 0.9%!

More than 21,000 travelers plan to travel with OAT from March to May this year. Booster shots should now be considered fully vaccinated for all travel after April 1, 2022; this also includes all tour guides and staff.

“The safety of our travelers is our number one concern. Transparency with COVID data is the way forward for the travel industry,” said Harriet R. Lewis, vice president of Overseas Adventure Travel, Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Travel. “We want our travelers to know that the health and safety protocols we have in place, including the requirement to vaccinate all travelers, travel experience managers, program directors and staff, work overall. Travelers should continue to feel comfortable trusting us with their well-being abroad.

The tour operator’s COVID-19 health and safety measures are working, and I think that’s something we can be proud of; travelers can indeed travel safely when they follow the right measures, such as getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public spaces.

That’s why I think it’s important for more travel companies to publish the impact of COVID-19 on their customers. Positive cases are inevitable, but when tour operators or resorts follow the right protocols, like OAT and many cruise lines, the numbers become much less dramatic, especially if there is more data available.

Plus, it will give travelers more peace of mind as they can compare whether staying at a Caribbean resort is riskier for them than that Mediterranean cruise they’ve been putting off for nearly three years, or that group tour. fun that they’re hesitant to try because it’s a group format. It’s for this reason alone that I think travel confidence wouldn’t diminish if companies started posting their information for all to see.

More confident travelers mean more travelers traveling, and that’s good for everyone in the industry.