Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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When reflecting on 2020, and looking forward to 2021,

Katie Hultgren

the greatest emotion I feel is hope. Last year started as normal – but was abruptly interrupted by the pandemic. It turned 2020 into a year of uncertainty, sadness, fear and loss. I believe that there may be no industry more affected by the pandemic than travel and tourism, except for the healthcare industry. 


Covid-19 has affected the entire globe, grounding people where they stand. So many of the people I have spoken with have compared the fallout of the pandemic to the effects the events of September 11th had on travel.  


With health protocols and precautions now in place in most destinations and the vaccine in its earliest stages of distribution, I feel hope. Leisure travel will resume in the foreseeable future. Being on lockdown has caused people’s desire to escape to surge. There is pent-up demand to get away from the place you spent the majority of the last year.


All the trips and vacations planned for 2020 will be rescheduled into this year, combined with trips for those who have been stuck in one place for so long. People who have been meeting virtually will want to see each other face-to-face. 


There are still questions. Will we continue to wear masks in public? How quickly will the vaccine be distributed worldwide, and how long does the immunity it provides last? Despite lingering concerns, this should be a fantastic opportunity for travel agents. Advising your clients about the requirements and possible restrictions in their places of interest will heighten your value in their eyes. Also, offering them high quality travel insurance to protect them if anything should affect their plans will be assuring.


The year may start slowly but as confidence builds, I believe we can expect a huge rebound. I am excited for this, and I know our travel writers, travel suppliers, hotels and resorts, and the rest of the world waiting to welcome back Americans is too. The saying “You don’t know what you have until it is gone” rings true, but in 2021 I am very hopeful that we will begin to see the travel industry come back with force.  I am ready and I know you are too. 

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