Snow causes late rush for travel

Many of the Central Albertans who woke to fresh snow last week simply cursed and reached for a shovel.

Many of the Central Albertans who woke to fresh snow last week simply cursed and reached for a shovel.

But some reached for their telephone instead — and called CanWest Travel Company.

“No one was really expecting it and then all of a sudden the phone started ringing,” said Richard Roth, a partner in the Red Deer travel agency.

As people in the region continue to battle snow and cold, nearly two weeks after the official start of spring, many are impulsively booking trips to warmer climates, confirmed Roth.

“It’s almost like, ‘We’ve reached our breaking point and we’re about to snap, so get us out of this place!’”

At the Red Deer branch of the Alberta Motor Association, travel agents saw a jump in bookings to warm-weather destinations when Old Man Winter first bared his frosty teeth.

“Earlier in the winter we definitely saw an increase in demand,” said Jen Grauman, assistant manager of the AMA’s travel department.

The volume of tropical trips returned to normal levels in January and February, added Grauman. But the usual springtime shift to destinations like Europe appears to have been delayed in favour of southern options like Mexico, she said.

“We’re still getting demand for them, for sure.”

Grauman speculated that this might also be the result of a late Easter, when many families book their holidays. But she’s also noticed last-minute travel plans being formulated by winter-weary clients.

“That is happening, for sure.”

Shelley Cota, manager at Uniglobe Mills Travel in Red Deer, agreed that steady snowfall does keep the phones ringing.

But the quest for warm weather occurs every winter, she said, with most people making their plans well in advance.

“It was a busy winter, but I didn’t see an influx just because it was colder.”

Roth maintains that local interest in tropical destinations was higher than usual.

“It’s definitely weather-related.

“Absolutely, there’s no question about it.”

Another factor at play might have been the strengthened Alberta economy, said Cota.

However, the lower loonie made international travel more expensive.

Cota said she didn’t notice as many vacation sell-offs this winter, while Roth observed that Central Albertans had more flight options — thanks to increased air traffic out of Calgary and Edmonton, and the introduction of Air Canada service at the Red Deer Airport last fall.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

Alberta’s debt clock on the road to drive home fiscal message

Canadian Taxpayers Federation raising concerns about Alberta’s $45 billion debt

Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis out of intensive care, able to communicate

An Alberta player with the Western Hockey League who was seriously burned… Continue reading

Trump-Putin summit opens without talk of election meddling

HELSINKI — With a wink and a slouch, respectively, President Donald Trump… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Statelessness a hurdle for some rescued Thai boy

MAE SAI, Thailand — The 12 boys and coach of the Wild… Continue reading

Lobbying commissioner rejects complaints against firearms panel member

OTTAWA — A federal watchdog has dismissed complaints that a mass-shooting survivor… Continue reading

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes… Continue reading

Red Deer Royals place second at Calgary Stampede parade

Royals depicted life in forest and portrayed destruction by human beings

Muslim candidates running in record numbers face backlash

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A liberal woman of colour with zero name recognition… Continue reading

Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

LONDON — A former U.K. Cabinet minister from the ruling Conservative Party… Continue reading

Man killed by Chicago police ran away, reached for waist

CHICAGO — A man killed by Chicago police had a gun in… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month