A shot in the arm for area travel agencies

Agents say Covid-19 vaccines have helped boost trip bookings to destinations with fewer restrictions
Ozaukee Press Staff

Local travel agencies are seeing a resurgence in travel bookings this fall, mostly to areas where travel restrictions are relaxed.

Both Yonder Travel in Grafton and Biever Travel in Port Washington have reported an uptick in travel bookings in recent months after experiencing a challenging year of rescheduling and cancellations during the pandemic.

Yonder Travel owner Maureen Schommer said once Covid-19 vaccines became widely available, interest in travel spiked dramatically.

“It just went from zero bookings to working 10 hour days everyday,” she said.

 While travel bookings have nearly returned to their pre-pandemic standing, agencies have noticed that travel restrictions have caused travelers to favor some destinations over others.

Both Yonder and Biever have reported booking more trips to locations with less strict travel requirements than ever before.

“We’ve had more domestic bookings than we’ve ever had, at least in the 26 years I’ve been with the agency,” Biever manager Lori Dahm said.

Schommer also said she’s booked more trips to the Florida Keys in the last six months than ever before. She added that other destinations like Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and Mexico have been favored by travelers over destinations like European countries or Jamaica, where travel restrictions are more rigorous and might require a quarantine upon arrival.

While only a negative Covid test is needed to fly from Mexico to the United States, countries like Jamaica require negative tests to fly, entry requirement forms and restrict travelers to stay in “resort corridors,” or certain tourist areas.

Dahm said if people are interested in traveling to countries that have more restrictions, she helps them navigate the forms and requirements, but noted that a majority of travelers opt for simpler trips after reviewing the process.

“Our job is basically to let them know what the restrictions are for that area and then they can make the decision if they want to travel there,” she said. “Many times when we tell them what all has to be done, they’ll choose a different destination that is not quite so intense with the preparation part.”

Cruises are also seeing a resurgence after being hurt by the pandemic, although not as quickly as air travel, according to the agencies.

Dahm said while not as many people are booking cruises as before the pandemic, those who have gone have reported positive experiences. She added that cruise lines have made significant efforts to ensure safety during trips and that capacity has been reduced.

Schommer said cruise lines are returning to their operations slowly and are often taking test cruises with just staff members to ensure no one is sick on the ship.

“It takes about two months for each of the ships to get cleared to bring on passengers,” she said.

She added that cruise lines have been a less desirable option for those who are unvaccinated or who have unvaccinated children because they are limited to certain areas of the ship.

Though concerns surrounding the Delta variant may still cause some trips to be cancelled, local agencies are pleased travel is returning to normal after a tumultuous year.

“I’m glad I’m still in business, let’s put it that way,” Schommer said.




Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login