Local travel agents and airport leaders see an uptick in Spring Break travel

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Spring break is one of the busiest times of the year for travel and after a year of stay-at-home orders, travel experts are optimistic for travel to pick back up.

For some, spring break is a week spent on vacation, but in March of 2020, many people canceled flights and refunded trips as the world prepared for lockdown and COVID-19 spread.

“I think it’s 1973, you have to go back to that year to see numbers this low,” said Peoria International Airport Director of Airports Gene Olson.

Now a year later as vaccinations roll out across the nation, Olson said he’s optimistic numbers will start to pick back up again.

“Hopefully there will be more than what we had in 2020. It’s not going to be hard to beat April’s tally of 3,000 passengers. I think the exact number was 2,928 so that one should be easy to beat,” said Olson.

Local travel agents say they’re already busy booking vacations. Peoria Charter Travel Agent Amanda Schott said the phone keeps ringing and people are ready to travel again but in the new normal.

“Even though the airlines are doing their job, I still bring my own sanitizing wipes and I am wiping down my seats, you know you can only really protect yourself. I’m not going to let his pandemic keep me away from doing the things that I love, but I am going to do it safely,” said Schott.

Olson said the airflow on planes is a common misconception.

“You know people think you’re jammed together on an airplane with other people and it’s the same air, well it’s not the airplane actually draws in outside air and they can control the rate that happens and so they have turned all those things up full so it’s exchanging air as much as possible,” said Olson.

Spring break aside, Olson said the biggest jump in travel numbers will happen once business travel picks back up again.

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