NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) – At International Tours and Cruises in Nacogdoches, the phone rings nonstop. A slight increase in the desire to travel is a welcome change for manager Camala Phillips after two years of pandemic restrictions.
“There were people who just said, ‘Hey, I’m going to travel no matter what and deal with it,'” Phillips said. “Then there were other people who stayed home for two years and didn’t even leave the house. So they are really ready to go out for travel and they feel more comfortable with anything relaxed. Many countries are opening up, all restrictions are getting better and easier for people.
The World Travel Tourism Council predicts that travel and tourism in the United States will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022, contributing nearly $2 trillion to the US economy. Additionally, they predict that outbound international travel from the United States during the Easter holiday period will increase by 130%. Phillips said every traveler is unique and there is no factor that would separate one East Texas traveler from another. After 40 years in the travel agent business, she has clients all over the United States and continues to send them to a wide range of vacation destinations this season.
“I take them everywhere,” Phillips said. “Not just Mexico, not just Florida. I’ve had newlyweds leaving the country. We had Thailand, just a bit of everything.
New factors have emerged in addition to COVID-19 concerns. The war in Ukraine and rising gas and flight prices are new complications for holiday travel, but Phillips said they haven’t deterred his clientele.
“I think most people’s biggest fear is not war; they are not scared of the area and everything but it is quarantined or blocked due to flight stop due to war or COVID contraction in the country and obligation to s ‘quarantine there,’” Phillips said.
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