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Experts offer travel insight for spring, summer

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 4:28 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - With spring just on the horizon, and many travel plans impacted over the past 12 months, people are itching to book their summer vacations.

But is it safe?

Dr. Noelle Bissell, the director of the New River Health District, says spring and summer travel can be done safely; it just might not look as normal as you’d like.

“It’s not where you go. It’s what you do,” said Bissell. “We are so close. Things are looking really good. If people want to travel, and I understand people want to get away, just practice the precautions.”

Due to those precautions, like social distancing and decreased capacities, the places you’d like to travel might not look the same as you remember, either, according to Dr. Mahmood Khan, a hospitality and tourism professor at Virginia Tech.

He expects it to be another year before we see travel bookings on par with pre-pandemic levels.

“It is like any crisis,” said Khan. “After any crisis, you have to give it time to adjust your strategy and think where things are going to be, and that is what will happen from a service provider’s point of view.”

When discussing COVID, you’ve likely heard the term “herd immunity.” Khan describes a return to normalcy in travel and hospitality as needing “herd community.”

“When they see their neighbors go out and they are traveling, they are going to restaurants, then things will change,” said Khan.

If you’re still uneasy about travel, Khan recommends exploring a vacation spot closer to home. He also encourages booking sooner rather than later to cash in on deals.

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