Ready or not, tourism is opening up again for business. But what you don’t know about tourism’s grand opening might surprise you.
After the COVID-19 outbreak shut down virtually the entire travel industry, the reopenings have been uneven and often unpredictable. Some places are reopening, but others are closing amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases. And there are deals — lots of deals.
“We’re taking a very thoughtful approach to how we communicate leisure travel right now,” says Ben McDonald, a spokesman for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, which markets Reno and Lake Tahoe. “We want to talk to visitors in a way that’s relatable and will make them feel comfortable to visit.”
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If you want to know what a driving vacation is really like during a pandemic, come to Reno, Nev., with me.
You probably won’t find the 788-mile drive from Spokane, Wash., on any top 10 lists. It’s a two-day journey through the farmland and mountains of Oregon and Idaho. But if you’re looking for an idea of what a driving vacation is really like, there may be no better gauge.
For example, how are other travelers treating the risk of a coronavirus infection? A drive through the American West will answer that question. What about hotels? Travel down to Reno to find out. Same thing for restaurants. And, of course, the million-dollar question: Is it safe to take a driving vacation now?
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You probably already know what travel insurance doesn’t cover after the pandemic. Fear of travel and pandemics are at the top of the list. But what does travel insurance cover after the pandemic?
Consider what happened to Rita McMahon. She’d booked a flight from Seattle to Manchester, England, this summer. And then the coronavirus struck.
Although her Aer Lingus flight is still operating, there’s a quarantine for people arriving from the U.S. McMahon is reluctant to fly. But neither her airline nor her travel insurance company will refund the $5,075 she spent for her first-class ticket.
“It was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime for me,” says McMahon, who lives in Kirkland, Wash. “Now, it is turning into something else.”
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Travel has changed since the pandemic. We have social distancing and lower fares — and lots of uncertainty. But how should it change?
Talk to someone like Jennifer Zwicky, and she’ll tell you.
“How do you regain travelers’ trust?” she wonders.
Zwicky isn’t just thinking about the future because she’s a travel advisor. She says too many people are looking back instead of forward. And they’re seeing the wrong thing.
Read more “How travel has changed since the pandemic — and how it should change”
When it comes to renting a car after the pandemic, what’s different? Alex Davis wondered when she rented a car from Alamo in Chicago recently. Agents in hazmat suits? Antibacterial car washes, maybe? Perhaps an extra cleaning fee? It was all a mystery.
So Davis was surprised when everything seemed so normal, all things considered. Signs pointed her and her husband directly to the Alamo booth in the parking garage.
“Two attendants were working in the office, wearing masks,” says Davis, a wellness consultant. “The other customers in line were all wearing masks as well.”
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