Visitor restrictions making decline in travel a worse situation for travel agencies

Travel may be hitting new record numbers, but flare-ups and visitor restrictions are making a bad situation even worse for travel agencies.

News 12 Staff

Jun 29, 2020, 9:20 PM

Updated 1,419 days ago

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Travel may be hitting new record numbers, but flare-ups and visitor restrictions are making a bad situation even worse for travel agencies.
Diana Cillo, owner of Hollowbrook Travel, says she has had zero income since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March.
Cillo beat the coronavirus, but it's too soon to tell if her Putnam Valley business will recover as well.
"We haven't even booked a flight. Every flight that we book - within a month it gets canceled," she says.
Nearly every reservation - more than 100 - has been canceled while ongoing restrictions make rebooking difficult.
Travel agencies are a commission-based industry, paid by hotels or airlines when the customer goes on their trip. The Alliance of Westchester Travel Agencies, which represents 35 travel companies in the Hudson Valley, says about 7,000 trips were canceled from May through June, with very few rebooking.
Travel site Kayak says nearly 200 countries remain completely or partially closed to travelers, and that's why the head of the AWTA says using an agent is more vital now than ever.
"We work for the client. If people don't realize the value in having a good travel agent. they're missing the boat. To do this yourself, to go on hold for 12 hours, to cancel a reservation or get in touch with an airline," says Corinne Mutarelli, president of the AWTA.
Over the weekend, American Airlines joined United and Spirit in booking full flights, no longer blocking middle seats for the pandemic. As the airline industry picks up, travel agents hope vacation bookings will as well.
 


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