“We just have to be patient;” Travel industry looks ahead to post-pandemic tourism

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s a question you may have heard a lot on January 26: If you could travel anywhere once it’s safe to do so again, where would you go?

On this “National Plan Your Vacation “Day,” some people told WCIA they just want to visit friends and families a few states over. Others are hoping to check off some bucket list destinations.

It’s all starting to feel a bit more realistic, especially after President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would be ramping up vaccine deliveries over the next three weeks, with the hopes of vaccinating 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall.

All this talk of travel is music to Brad Martin’s ears.

“Things from this year are beginning to turn around,” the travel agent said.

It hasn’t exactly been easy running Anytime Anywhere Journeys in Rantoul.

“This year has been the biggest challenge I’ve had in 36 years in the industry.”

But with more people getting vaccinated day by day, Martin is starting to book domestic trips again for late 2021, along with international trips for 2022.

“I found an amazing deal to the Holy Land for September 2022,” Martin says. “Amazing value. It hits Greece, Rome and the Holy Land.”

He’s even beginning to plan for a Nile River cruise in 2023.

“The feeling is once we can travel again, there won’t be the availability and the prices are going to be high,” he says. “So, why not take advantage of booking and getting a good value now.”

In a year that saw air travel down globally, Martin believes tourism will be able to return more securely than before the pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic, the hotels, the cruise lines, the airlines have increased their safety protocols,” Martin says. “They’re going to be safer than ever. Everybody’s ready to be back to traveling and travel safe and it’s coming. We just have to be patient.”

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