ROCKFORD — The local travel industry is breathing a sigh of relief now that the federal government has lifted coronavirus testing requirements for anyone entering the United States.
Travel agents say they are already seeing a surge in business and signs that international vacation bookings are poised for an even more steady flow.
“I just read a statistic this morning that (said) since (the Centers for Disease Control) dropped the testing requirement to return to the U.S., 30% of people surveyed say they will now travel internationally that they wouldn’t have before,” he said. Sandra Chu, independent travel agent for Enchanted Travel.
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Before the administration scrapped the rule — implemented by former President Donald Trump and tweaked by President Joe Biden — agents said planning international travel for their clients was a challenge. Your customers have chosen domestic vacations over foreign trips or have simply postponed the trip.
“It had a big impact on people’s decisions because they could take a week off work, but they couldn’t take a second week off if they tested positive,” said John Sturm, president of Lindstrom Travel. “Now that this is over, it’s a whole different situation.”
Even before the US updated its travel guidelines, travel agencies were seeing an increase in warm-weather vacations to places like Cancun and an increase in reservations for Alaska vacations and cruises. Suppressed demand indicated that, in terms of number bookings, things were moving towards the way the industry operated before the pandemic.
But there are still some factors that make travel today, more than two years since the virus hit, significantly different.
“It’s a totally different game the way it is now compared to what it was before,” said Sturm. “Even on cruises, most of them require a negative test before getting on the cruise ship. Two years ago, you didn’t have to do anything like this. You just showed up and walked in. So there is uncertainty. Will people test positive or negative when they go on vacation?”
Veronika Markgraf, owner of Vacations by Veronika, said many of her customers got tired of putting off plans, stopped paying attention to the testing rule, and started booking more trips six months ago.
“They would no longer hesitate to travel,” Markgraf said.
But she believes that the economy is preventing travel from returning to pre-pandemic levels.
“The price of everything is going up,” she said. “So I wouldn’t say we’re back to the pre-pandemic.”
But without the international testing rule, that could change quickly, regardless of inflation. More bookings for the Caribbean, Europe and theme parks are on the rise.
“People are willing to spend more than before,” Chu said. “They are looking for special experiences – maybe upgrade to a superior room category to do something to celebrate not traveling for so long.”
Jim Hagerty covers general news, schools and courts. Contact him at email@example.com and @jimhagerty.
Why use a travel agent instead of booking online?
Why use a travel agent instead of booking online? Simply put, you’ll have a better trip without the stress of planning your trip yourself. A travel agent can accommodate your interests, budget and time frame with their wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Why are travel agents better than online? Travel agents save customers money, but the benefits of booking with a travel agent go much further. This may interest you : ICYMI: State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett’s Op-Ed in Elle Magazine: If I Were Not Pregnant, I Would Not Be New York Health Commissioner. Travel agents also create high-value travel over OTAs because (the talented, living human beings that they are) are able to stand up for customers when things go wrong.
What are the advantages of booking with a travel agent?
Here are the top reasons to book with a travel agent that everyone should be aware of before booking a holiday…. Read also : Does Summer of Revenge Travel Here? Hope Businesses So..
- You are protected! …
- You can pay in installments. …
- You can talk to someone face to face. …
- They do all the work so you can save time and money! …
- You get expert advice. …
- Flexibility. …
- Changes and Cancellations.
Is it cheaper to book online or through a travel agent?
Seaton says booking through a travel agent usually won’t cost more. This may interest you : 3 tap breaking in selected real estate. She says that while some agents charge a nominal planning fee, many agencies like hers do not charge anything extra for their services.
Is it worth getting a travel agent?
A travel agent can keep things organized, negotiate with services and personally resolve any complications that may arise. Instead of trying to book rooms at the same hotels and seats on the same flights with multiple credit cards and names, let a travel agent do the dirty work.
What are the benefits of using a travel agent? Benefits of using a travel agent
- Traveling is their specialty. The #1 benefit of using a travel agent when it comes to booking your family trip is because traveling is their specialty. …
- Knowledge of destination. …
- Convenience. …
- Cost savings. …
- relationships. …
- Travel assistance. …
- Decreased stress.
Does it make sense to use a travel agent?
One of the best ways to use a travel agent is as a lawyer if something gets in the way of your trip. They can help you with lost luggage, in case of natural disasters, if you get stuck in a location before your trip, etc. They are there to help you resume your journey.
Are travel agents cheaper than online?
Travel agents can be as cheap as online deals. Travel agents are closing branches as more people head online to book their vacation. However, our research has found that visiting a high street travel agent can be just as cheap.
Is it cheaper to buy tickets through a travel agent? It is more expensive to book flights with a travel agent than to book online from home. This is because travel agents typically charge for their services, even booking a flight on your behalf. Still, the services of an agent can be worthwhile for some travelers who want to avoid stressful vacation planning.
Does it cost more to use a travel agent?
They usually don’t cost extra. It’s a myth that working with a travel agent will automatically cost you more; most are paid through hotel or supplier commissions.
Is it cheaper to use a travel agent or book online?
Seaton says booking through a travel agent usually won’t cost more. She says that while some agents charge a nominal planning fee, many agencies like hers do not charge anything extra for their services.