Cuba demanding proof of health insurance from travellers
TRAVEL insurance for Cuba, competing airline profits and a decline in trips to the U.S. because of the low Canadian dollar are the subjects of this week’s column. THIS shouldn’t be new information, but until recently Cuban authorities have accepted our provincial health cards as sufficient proof of medical coverage. As of last week, they seem to be saying something different. There was a kerfuffle a few years ago when the Cuban government first enunciated the policy that arriving passengers had to show proof of supplementary insurance. Shortly after, tourist officials declared Canadians with provincial coverage would not be required to have extra coverage. Now they seem to be saying something different. They are underscoring that those who do not have the proof, as per their requirements, will have to purchase extra coverage from a Cuban insurance company. I think supplemental coverage should be purchased for any out-of-country trip. Provincial health programs do not provide for emergency medical services outside of Canada, and because health service charges vary from country to country, our provincial coverage may be insufficient. While private insurance companies are often the subject of complaints, there is no question you would have to pay all of your medical costs before you would be allowed to leave the country, if you relied strictly on Manitoba’s health coverage. Waiting for reimbursement from the provincial government could take months. Our federal government recommends extra coverage, so it is best to heed this advice. It’s important any coverage you purchase before travelling to Cuba must not be from a United States company. While U.S. President Barack Obama may be trying to open the doors to commerce, restrictions that have been in place since the Cuban revolution have not been lifted. recovery in the housing market as well as the dollar offset. Usually, when this happens, hotels and resorts offer discounts. But not this time. That’s because our business is being replaced by other international visitors, mostly from China. While the Chinese economy is showing its own signs of weakness, there is a new wealth class in China. They have the money, and are anxious to spend it vacationing in the United States. There is a good chance some of those visitors may come to Canada, but for those of us looking for the deals south of the border, they may not materialize immediately. Perhaps because many were sensing this reality, current figures show those Canadians who still determined to travel, have already shifted to other destinations. In December, almost a million Canadians travelled to countries other than the United States, up nine per cent from 2014. new international growth opportunities to generate increased profit,” On the basis of adjusted income, the airline reported a profit of $1.2 billion, which was more than double its 2014 record of $531 million. Meantime, WestJet reported lower profits amid problems in Western Canada’s economy. Nearly 25 per cent of WestJet’s business is based in Alberta, and 40 per cent of all of its passengers travel via that province, especially through WestJet’s hub in Calgary. The company recently announced huge discounts for western flights in an effort to stimulate traffic. Their holiday division, WestJet Vacations, is suffering similar losses because the Alberta oilpatch has cut jobs due to falling oil prices and fewer people are able to take a winter vacation. In the last quarter of 2015, WestJet’s profits dropped 27 per cent from the previous year. The airline’s four new wide-body Boeing 767s, which were recently added, will start flying to London, England, this spring. Winnipeg will be one of the cities served with these non-stop flights. WestJet announced it will offer non-stop flights this summer between Vancouver and both Hamilton and London, Ont., and between Toronto Pearson and Brandon. The three routes will operate from late June to early September, with connections for passengers travelling beyond Vancouver and Toronto. Total one-way prices, including taxes and fees, start at $216 for Toronto-Brandon, WestJet said.