Kansas travel industry adjusting to pandemic trends

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Many people have decided to cancel or change up their vacation plans this year. But there are still some people wanting to take a trip of some sort, so they’re looking into how to do it safely.

The travel industry has taken a huge hit during the crisis. People canceled vacations during much of the spring, but when the number of cases started going down, more people started looking into vacations in June. But then cases started going back up.

“It just felt like the bottom fell out again,” said Kim Cook, the owner of Love to Travel, a travel agency in Overland Park.

Now the majority of work for the agency is to reschedule, refund, and cancel bookings. But there are still some people that are traveling.

“They’ve had such a positive experience,” Cook said.

She said people are enjoying clean and empty planes and less busy resorts.

Travel agents are monitoring what requirements are in place around the country and internationally for the people still traveling.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said people need to quarantine for two weeks if they’ve visited certain countries. Health officials also tell people to quarantine if you’ve been to Arizona as recently as Monday or have traveled or will travel going to Florida.

High infection rates in Kansas have caused New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington D.C. and the city of Chicago to tell residents that anyone who travels to the Sunflower State has to quarantine for 14 days once they return home.

Also most countries aren’t letting Americans travel internationally, including Canada.

Travel agents said with the amount of coronavirus cases and restrictions constantly changing, it’s impacting where and when people want to travel.

“I do think a lot of people are just sticking closer to home for sure,” Cook said. “We’re trying to focus on trips that would be happening later this year. A lot of Christmas bookings, Thanksgiving bookings, that’s primarily what we’ve been been doing lately, because people want to have something to look forward to and so that’s what we’re trying to provide for them in a safe and secure way.”

Cook encouraged everyone to stay safe and take precautions, and a trip could be more likely in your future.

“I think if we start getting those numbers down, you can go on vacation, so that’s a big benefit,” Cook said.

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