We will travel again!
I will always remember where I was when the news first broke about coronavirus escalating from a small outbreak in China to a worldwide pandemic. I had just disembarked from the Disney Dream cruise ship in Port Canaveral and my telephone was buzzing with texts and emails from my travel clients.
I had no idea then how much the world of travel was about to change. The coming months would be filled with helping travelers with their cancellations, rescheduling, refunds and travel credits, travel insurance claims, and more. Still, I think the hardest part of my role these past six months has been navigating the overwhelming surge of emotions my clients, whom I refer to as my travel friends, were experiencing.
Families share vacations every spring break and summer break. Couples experience once in a lifetime trips together for their honeymoon or anniversary. Groups celebrate milestone achievements or enjoy gathering for a professional convention.
Travel is a part of who we are, and we look forward to creating these memories every year. Unfortunately, travel was cancelled for spring break and summer 2020, and we’re still waiting for it to resume. Many of us are wondering, when will it begin again, or how will travel be different, and will it be safe to travel?
WE WILL TRAVEL AGAIN
Let me share some good news: We will travel again! Groups like IATA International Air Transportation Association, CLIA Cruise Line International Association, ASTA American Society of Travel Advisors and the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working hard together toward a healthy return to service. We can expect to see many changes to travel including reduced capacity and occupancy for social distancing, negative COVID-19 test required, face masks on staff and possibly guests, deeper and more frequent cleaning, the removal of open buffet style dining, etc.
SOME DESTINATIONS OPEN
I am encouraged to see many popular destinations begin their phased reopening.
Walt Disney World reopened in mid-July with a reduced occupancy and masks required, resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico have opened to tourists requiring a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival, and even some cruise ships in Europe are sailing with a reduced capacity.
As the world begins to reopen to tourism, I highly recommend booking your 2021 vacations now. I predict an issue of availability in 2021 based on simple supply and demand.
Fall is when many travel planners secure their spring break and summer travel for the coming year. In addition, we have hundreds of millions of travelers whose 2020 travel plans were rescheduled for 2021. That’s more travelers than we would normally expect causing a higher demand.
We also need to be concerned with the available supply. Will cruise ships, airlines, and hotels be required to reduce available occupancy? Will smaller businesses like bed and breakfasts, destination tour operators (like whale watching boats in Alaska, or SCUBA diving companies in the Caribbean), and other small travel related businesses be closed after losing the bulk of their income in 2020?
I expect 2021 to be a very busy travel season. You already missed out on a 2020 vacation, book your 2021 vacation now to avoid missing out again.
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