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Travel Industry Sees Unprecedented Spike After Vaccine Rollout Begins

The numbers are simply incredible.

2020 was an awfully lonely year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This novel strain of coronavirus was an elusive and mysterious plague for nearly a year, as it spread throughout the globe in a matter of weeks, and did so without any tried and true treatments available for much of this duration.  We were forced to remain socially-distanced from one another, the effects of which were not only felt in terms of mental health, but also economically.  Businesses that rely on the gathering of people were decimated, as restaurants and sports venues shuttered, musical acts stopped touring, and much of the world canceled any and all vacation plans.

Now that there’s a vaccine being deployed, however, travel agents are seeing an incredible turnaround.

A dozen travel companies and organizations — encompassing cruise lines, tour operators, travel agents and resorts — told The Washington Post that they are seeing bookings pick up for the second half of next year after a brutal stretch that brought the world to a standstill.

Why testing won’t save the cruise industry from the coronavirus
“With the most challenging environment comes the biggest opportunity for a return,” said Brad Tolkin, co-chairman and CEO of World Travel Holdings, a travel company that sells cruise, villa and resort vacations. “And I think it’s going to be thunderous.”

At his own company, bookings are “heavily skewed” toward the second half of next year and into 2022.

“We are taking an unprecedented amount of business now for 2022 relative to how much we took last year for 2020, pre-pandemic,” Tolkin said. “It’s just amazing how far in advance people are booking.”

And that’s not all…

At Sandals Resorts, bookings for summer are spiking, deputy chairman Adam Stewart said in a statement. The company is grappling with a coronavirus outbreak at its Grenada resort, but it is still pulling in big numbers for next year.

“Summer 2021 is seeing a double-digit percentage gain in overall occupancy when compared with previous summer booking trends, including summer 2019,” Stewart said, adding that the increase stretches into 2022 and 2023. “There is no doubt that we’re seeing an upward bookings trend as a testament to the pent-up wanderlust we’ve all experienced this past year.”

The move comes as economists remain wary about the speed at which the world can recover from this pandemic plunge.

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