Travel industry picks up as the pandemic restrictions ease


LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -If you have plans to book a trip this year, you’re not alone. As pandemic restrictions ease, travel experts in Lincoln said the time to start planning is now.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, more than 82% of Americans said they’re excited to travel this year. Travel experts said they are already seeing an increase in travel compared to last year.

As most places return to normalcy, the travel industry is picking back up.

“You’re seeing more and more people feel more comfortable with coming out and traveling.,” said Jamie Sanks, owner of Vacation Vibes Travel.

AAA said the number of flights, tours, car rentals and hotels booked this spring are up 211% over last year.

“We’re excited to see people traveling again,” Sanks said. “We’re excited to see people traveling without having to rebook trips three or four times. It’s starting to get back to where things were pre-2020.″

Sanks said her team has been busy this year with the increasing travel demand.

“Our 2021 was a record year. 2022 is already on track to blow away 2021,” Sanks said. “With the pandemic and from where we started to where we are now, people have become more comfortable traveling. They’ve kind of learned to work with the protocols.”

Gas prices are rising across the country. In Nebraska, the average gas price is $3.92. That’s up 63 cents just in the last month.

“With the increase of fuel, we do anticipate at some point the airlines will likely add in a fuel surcharge,” Sanks said. “So the sooner the people can book, the better it will be for their pricing.”

TSA extended the mask mandate for flying through April 18. Sanks encourages anyone planning to travel to book their trip at least eight months in advance.

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