Local travel agent on COVID effect on travel industry

Coronavirus

(WJBF) – The travel industry is suffering severely from COVID-19.

Hotels, airlines and cruise lines…all  losing billions of dollars.

Question is, how are companies enticing travelers to see beyond this pandemic?

NewsChannel 6’s Mary Morrison spoke with a local travel expert to find out.

Margaret Centers works from home and has for years. She owns Margaret’s Travel, a successful travel agency in Augusta.

“I’m very, very busy every day and the reason I’m busy is because I’m having to postpone or cancel trips,” says Margaret. “We started canceling trips in April and then in May and now in June.”

Centers, a 40-year-veteran of the travel industry has seen some economic ups and downs but never like this.

“I don’t think anyone in our lifetime has ever witnessed a pandemic so its spreading out for months and months and months,” says Margaret.

Right now, she browses brochures and looks forward to the day that the industry bounces back. That could take some time. A once vibrant cruise industry is struggling to just stay afloat.

“One hundred percent of their fleet is docked.”

So cruise lines are working hard to regain your confidence.

Margaret predicts some major changes onboard ships, like no more self-serve buffets and lots of hand sanitizing.

And if you want to book a future trip but are concerned about losing your money…don’t be.

“The cruise lines now are doing a 48 hour cancellation. So if you’re nervous about cruising you can cancel 48 hours in advance and get a refund.”

Airlines are not in much better shape, including Delta.

“They’re our hometown airline right here from Atlanta, Georgia. Eighty percent of their aircraft are parked.”

Despite these dire economic consequences due to COVID-19, Margaret Centers remains optimistic.

She believes Americans will one day travel again and for good reasons.

“Anniversaries, honeymoons and just for the sense of adventure and that that hasn’t died. The hope is still there and I really believe that we’ll be back on track and ready to travel again.”

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