Canada still hasn't issued a countrywide travel advisory to China
Canadians are now being officially advised to avoid all travel to China's Hubei province amidst the coronavirus outbreak — but the government still hasn't issued a countrywide travel advisory.
With the United States issuing a Level 3 travel warning for the entire country of China, many Canadians are beginning to question why Justin Trudeau isn't doing more.
Some people are urging the Prime Minister to issue a warning that applies to all of China.
@CPHO_Canada @TravelGoC @CanadianPM when will you take it seriously and consider a countrywide avoid/unnecessary travel advisory to China so travellers can obtain airline extended travel waivers and insurance trip cancellations?! #topoli #cdnpoli https://t.co/lh0BDeQbl0— Happy Traveller (@h4ppYtrave11er) January 27, 2020
And other Canadians are advising Trudeau to look to the U.S. as an example.
@CPHO_Canada CDC has raised travel advisory for all of China to "avoid nonessential travel to all parts of China" and Level 4 - no travel to Hubei Province. When will Canada do the same? #wuhanvirus #coronavirus— J (@jtwong27) January 27, 2020
So why hasn't Canada issued a countrywide advisory?
The answer could lie in the aviation industry.
Air Canada — Canada's leading airline — generated a cool $16.2 billion in passenger revenue last year. And with direct routes to Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, Air Canada risks losing hundreds of thousands of dollars by issuing refunds to travellers.
That's where the government comes in.
Following the White House's official travel advisory, U.S. airlines are being pressured into giving customers full refunds for their flights to Wuhan. They're also offering customers flying to China the option of altering their flights at no additional cost.
The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. As a result, we’ve issued a travel waiver for multiple cities in China. You can change your flight at no cost on our app, by direct messaging us here or calling 1-800-864-8331. Waiver: https://t.co/jDqODm8Y6E— United Airlines (@united) January 25, 2020
Air Canada, in contrast, is not offering full refunds — and they're limiting which flights can be changed.
The airline has similarly avoided making any public statements, encouraging frustrated customers to DM them instead.
Hello. Thank you for reaching out to us. We understand your concern with the current Coronavirus situation. Could you please provide us with your booking reference in a DM so we may better assist? /Kim— Air Canada (@AirCanada) January 28, 2020
If Canada issued a countrywide travel advisory to China, it could majorly damage the tourism sector.
With many Canadians pressuring the government to suspend all travel to China, Trudeau has a number of important decisions to make in the next few days.
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