PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Travel has increased in Central Illinois now that restrictions for COVID-19 have been lifted.
Travel agents are busier and flights are full and a Peoria travel agent said in comparison to last year, she is twice as busy.
Amanda Schott, a certified travel agent at Peoria Charter, said, “Every time I get off the phone, I have 7/8 more voicemails to call back. Which is a good thing, people are ready. They’re vaccinated, they are ready to get out there and go wherever they can go.”
It has been the same for those working in airports.
“I want to say the numbers in 2020 for June were in the neighborhood of 21,000 passengers for the month, and we’ve more than doubled that,” said Gene Olson, director of airports.
Despite more passengers on flights, one woman said she is excited to go on her first flight ever.
“I feel like we have more of an opportunity to still travel, still less confined at being home all the time. I know when COVID started last year, everybody was at home and, so it feels a little more free to start traveling,” said Cynthia Mendoza-Lino.
Olson said with more people traveling, prices to fly have risen, however, in 2019, flights were even more expensive.
“I saw an analyst report something like 6% increase in flights per, or in prices per month, and I’m surprised that it’s that low,” said Olson.
Even though more people are traveling, Olson said now is the time to take a vacation.
Olson said, “If you have the desire to travel, and you’ve been vaccinated, I see no reason not to go.”
He also said it is important to make sure to book flights and hotel stays as soon as possible because seats and rooms have been filling up quickly.