With Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine rules now in effect for travellers, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said the government-authorized hotel booking number operated by Global Business Travel (GBT) is receiving high volumes of enquiries, creating long wait times for callers.
However, it seems a majority of these calls are not from people currently trying to enter Canada, but rather from those who want to cover their bases in the near future.
PHAC spokesperson Eric Morrissette told Daily Hive that a “significant portion” of the calls coming to the booking line are from people enquiring about future hotel bookings, particularly for March and April.
“Travellers should not be calling to reserve a government-authorized hotel because they plan to travel in the future,” he said.
The only people who should be calling the number, he said, are those whose flight to Canada is scheduled within 48 hours of their call, at which point they can reserve and pay for their three-night hotel stopover.
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Morrissette said PHAC and GBT are working together to “mitigate caller wait times and support the people who are arriving in Canada in the next few days who need to book a hotel room.”
To help give a sense of the recent call volume, Morrissette said that GBT received 20,000 calls on February 19, 15,000 calls on February 20, and 10,000 calls on February 21.
The average wait time to get through to an agent is now approximately two hours, and the time to complete a transaction once a call is answered is about 20 minutes.
As for hotel reservations, Morrissette said that as of this past Sunday, 2,227 rooms had already been booked between now and April, with 1,492 of those in February alone, so far.
For those unable to secure a hotel room by the time they arrive in Canada, Morrissette said officials at the airport will “help any travellers who were not able to book their government-authorized accommodation.”
Overall though, “Canadians are strongly advised to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel plans outside Canada for the foreseeable future,” he said.