SUDBURY -- While it's going to take some time to get to pre-pandemic levels, more and more Canadians are checking out their travel options.

Travel agency Sell Off Vacations opened its 30 stores on Monday morning in a bid to address the uptick in demand.

Sudbury store manager Karen Banjar had been barely open for a few hours before she booked a trip to Jamaica for a client.

"It's definitely been a lot slower, but people are starting to inquire again and people are starting to call again to see about the new protocols and new health and safety measures that are out," said Banjar.

She said many are coming to her with questions on what resorts are doing differently now to keep people safe. They're also looking into current travel restrictions, and some are even inquiring about COVID insurance.

"People have started to look into ideas and see what things are out there for next year because, of course, a lot of things have been cut back," she said.

Increase in air travel

It's a similar story at the Greater Sudbury Airport, which has noticed an increase in air travel recently.

Both Bearskin Airlines and Air Canada have been operating over the past few months, with the latter only recently switching to a bigger plane to fit more people flying in and out of Sudbury.

"Between June and July, we saw about a 90 per cent increase, and then from July to August, another 50 per cent increase, and so we are starting to see the numbers climb up modestly," said the Greater Sudbury Airport's Jean-Mathieu Chenier.

Chenier said it's welcome news for the facility, which relies on things like airport and parking fees to continue operating.

"We saw a lot of the miner types, with their work boots on and their duffel bag, heading up for their two-week run or wherever they're going at a remote mine, so that's been fairly consistent," he said. "I'd say as of late, you're starting to see the family unit travel."

Chenier said they're not expecting it to return to 2019 levels for at least another three to four years.

According to Statistics Canada, almost 100,000 more Canadians travelled this past June compared to the month before. The majority of those Canadians who are travelling are heading to the United States.

Air travel is also seeing a spike, with about three times as many travellers in the same time frame.