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Vaccines Give a Confidence Boost to Potential Travelers

File Photo The growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines has people wanting to travel feeling more comfortable in hitting the road again.

WHEELING — While many travel restrictions remain in place around the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, area travel agency representatives say the anticipation for more vaccines is slowly beginning to lift confidence of people making travel plans.

Bill Bryson, owner of Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel agency in Wheeling said that, while clients are slowly beginning to express their desire for traveling once again, they still want to get past the pandemic and feel safe.

“I think that’s the key — people need to feel safe,” Bryson explained. He said once the vaccine gets out to more and more of the population and the number of positive COVID cases begin to drop nationally, more and more people will regain confidence to travel again, especially domestically.

“When people start to see the numbers come down a little bit, and the schools aren’t having to go week to week, then I think the confidence continues to increase,” Bryson explained. “We are solely tied to that. If people have the confidence then they’re ready to go.”

He said some of his clients are already booking plans for this summer.

“They’re calling and they’re saying, ‘I want to plan my vacation, my honeymoon … we’re going to do this in June, or in May,’ and we’re booking them,” Bryson said. He said some of the boat cruise lines are already talking about possibly reopening by the end of March.

Bryson said his agency has been extremely busy over the past 10 months cancelling and renegotiating a variety of vacation plans for many of the agency’s clients. With vaccine becoming more available around the country, confidence is slowly rebuilding.

He said many of his clients have been extremely appreciative for his agency’s services over the past year. Once travel plans began to be affected by the pandemic in March, his agency had to reschedule and renegotiate vacation packages. Some clients had to reschedule as many as three times.

Jim Garrity, Public and Legislative Affairs Manager for AAA East Central, said the anticipation of the vaccine has made people less anxious to get out and explore the world again. Inquiries and bookings with the travel agency have picked up for this summer, the third quarter of this year and 2022 is looking strong.

“We would advise anyone who is considering travel to seek the advice of a travel professional to make an informed decision, which includes understanding the value of travel insurance,” Garrity explained. He said their agents work extremely well with helping travelers navigate through the best plans to match their needs.

“We provide insight on destinations, features, openings and closures,” he added, “as well as specific requirements that may be in place to safely enjoy the vacation experience.”

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