February 25, 2021

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Just Do Travel

Local travel agency notices many changes to the industry in the pandemic

2 min read

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – From airlines to cruise ships to resorts, the travel industry is changing.

Like many other industries, the travel industry has been taking a hit in the pandemic. However, Terrie Dean of The Wishing Well in Harrisonburg said many people are itching to get out and travel.

The Wishing Well is a three-part business that includes a travel agency, a floral boutique and an event planning company.

Terrie Dean has worked in the travel industry for the last 40 years and said she has never seen anything like the pandemic.

She said working in the travel industry right now is like trying to hit a moving target.

“It’s been a bit like riding a bike that’s on fire. We’re going at the fastest rate of speed we can,” Dean said.

There are many guidelines and each state works differently.

Some international travel is restricted and a halt has been put on cruises to Alaska and no cruise ships are able to port in Canada until 2022 which is a huge financial hit.

“It’s been sadness, utter frustration, it’s been elation and hope. Then it seems we start that process all over again,” Dean said.

Dean has noticed changes to the typical idea of travel.

With spring break coming up for some, people still want to travel and come to travel agencies like Dean’s to ask how they can travel safely and where to go.

Dean said some of the changes she’s noticed are a lot of families are going to more secluded locations or opting to drive rather than fly.

Also, some people working remotely decide to work by the beach.

“We’re seeing people really put on some creativity when it comes to looking at planning and involving the whole family,” Dean said.

One of Dean’s biggest pieces of advice for traveling in the pandemic is buy travel insurance and make sure you are buying travel insurance with the “cash back” feature, so you can be reimbursed if you decide to cancel the trip.

The travel industry has lost a lot of revenue, but Dean said she believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

She said travel may never look exactly the same, but some of the changes and lessons learned may not be all negative.

“It’s an industry that I feel very fortunate to be a part of and I’m happy that I chose this career. It has been very challenging, though,” Dean said.

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