Local travel advisor: The pandemic is the ‘largest interruption in travel since 9/11’

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – One Lexington travel advisor who previously lived in Horry County for over a decade says the current state of travel is definitely being interrupted by the pandemic and reopening efforts.

Travel advisor Tara McCoy tells News13 there’s a split between people who want to hop on a plane at the airport and get away and people who still may be anxious to book a trip. She says the pandemic has left little options for people to travel.

“It would’ve been really nice to get out of the house and do something different this summer, and I’m just not sure that’s going to happen,” said McCoy.

Katie Ewing and her family usually pack their bags and head to destinations like Disney World and the Dominican Republic every year. But now, things are different this year.

“This pandemic has been the largest travel interruption since 9/11,” said McCoy.

“All of my neighbors, all of the moms from my kid’s school, everybody I feel like either [has] things canceled already, or their trying to make a decision,” said Ewing.

McCoy says she’s seeing 50% of people want to get away and connect with family, and the other half are anxious and choose not to book trips.

“I really think it comes down to someone’s personal preferences and risk tolerance at the end of the day in terms of who feels comfortable to travel and who feels more comfortable to stay at home,” she said.

Another client of McCoy’s, Sheuli McKee says she won’t get to take her kids back to Europe this year to celebrate her son’s graduation.

“It’s making me a little sad,” said McKee. “I was really looking forward to taking them to Europe again.”

They’ll be going to the national parks instead to put the money back into the U.S. economy.

“With the pandemic, it’s really made me think about our economy here in the United States and so we’re just shifting our travel plan,” McKee said.

A majority of McCoy’s clients, like McKee, are booking in areas out west right now at dude ranches in Montana and the national parks where there’s a lot of space and not too many people crowding around.

“I’ve even had people booking cruises for this fall and into next year and other travel for the Caribbean, and of course, definitely an increase in domestic travel as well,” said McCoy. “People are wanting to kind of stay close to home or within the states this summer.”

For now, McCoy says it comes down to a personal decision whether to travel or not.

“If you’re someone that’s healthy and you have the means and the time to travel, don’t be afraid to get out there,” she said.

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