Local travel agencies say travel is on the rise as more people are vaccinated


TONAWANDA N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s been a tough year for the travel industry, but local agencies are hoping the worst is over.

“Travel has been tough the last year since COVID-19 started but things are starting to turn around,” said Larry Field who owns Everlasting Memories Vacations.

Agencies say people are more willing to book out-of-state trips after they’ve been vaccinated.

“They’re starting to feel more comfortable or they know that they’re going to be eligible probably within the next couple of months,” said AAA senior travel sales advisor Kevin Fairbanks-Bloom said. “They just need to give them something bright to look forward to.”

Fairbanks-Bloom says the popular destinations in the U.S. include Florida and Las Vegas and then internationally it’s Mexico or the Caribbean. He said there’s also been a trend in people booking vacation villas where people can go and be around mainly their family or friends the entire time.

“Where can we go? Where is it safe to go? Where are we allowed to go? Those are the questions that we’re hearing,” he said.

“They’re ready to take a vacation. They want to get away. They’ve been cooped up for a long time,” Field said. “They’re not sure whether they want to or should take a vacation yet and they’re asking us those questions about safety and what are the procedures.”

Officials from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport say air travel is still down about 80 percent from what they’re used to seeing.

Travelers still have to follow the guidelines after traveling out of the state, including getting a COVID-19 test prior to arriving back or quarantining for two weeks.

According to the Erie County Health Department, people who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after traveling out of the state. This exemption lasts 90 after someone is vaccinated.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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