SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The past year has been incredibly difficult for many businesses, but the travel industry has seen some of the hardest hits with thousands of canceled trips. It’s created hardships for many KELOLAND businesses and travelers who are both hoping vacations get back to usual in 2021.
“They’re very hopeful, they’re ready to travel,” Lorie Buus with All About Travel said.
All About Travel is seeing a new rush of requests from people looking to book a vacation in the new year.
“I think those of us in the Midwest have a need to travel, it’s what gets us through the winter, most of the time,” Buus said.
“Just to go south for a while to Mexico,” Jeff Ollerich of Sioux Falls said.
Ollerich is working to book a trip to Cabo yet this month.
“I was kind of worried early on that I wouldn’t be able to go, but now it’s opened up and there aren’t restrictions to get into Mexico, so I get to go back and soak up some sun,” Ollerich said.
Travel consultant Lorie Buus says Mexico was one of the first countries to lift travel restrictions and many Midwesterners are taking advantage.
“There are some amazing deals out there, I’ve got several couples going in February to the Riviera Maya with some really good deals,” Buus said.
But even with the added incentives, travel in the first quarter of the new year is still way down.
“I can tell already it’s not going to be a normal year. Actually, by September, the year prior to a traveling year, most of our January, February, March is booked,” Buus said. “Right now it’s really light.”
Buus and others in the travel industry are hopeful widespread use of the vaccine will help business pick up later this year.
“To see things come back somewhat normal, unfortunately, I think it’s going to be later in 2021, maybe even 2022,” Buus said.
It’s a difficult outlook for All About Travel. Income is down nearly 60 percent and workloads are up. Agents have been busy helping clients cancel and rebook vacations over the last year.
“Some of them I booked four times and they still haven’t traveled,” Buus said.
Buus is anticipating a busy season toward the end of 2021 when many people will need to claim their travel vouchers.
“If they canceled in 2020, most of them have until 2021 to get something on the books. In many cases that means they could travel in 2022 as well, for many of the companies,” Buus said.
If you have a travel voucher, read the details carefully as each company has different deadlines and rules. If you are booking a vacation for this year, Buus is highly recommending trip insurance with a cancel-for-any-reason policy.