Local travel industry sees slow rise in demand with new year

Some Dane County residents are ready to take a trip, others won’t be for some time
Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 12:47 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 8, 2021 at 6:08 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - The travel industry is looking to regain momentum after a tumultuous year. Verona resident Diane Mandell isn’t thinking she’ll take a trip anytime soon.

“I’d love to, but I’m not willing to,” says Mandell. The threat of COVID-19 is keeping Mandell close to home for now. Pre-pandemic, she would take road trips to see her parents near the Twin Cities.

“This coming fall maybe. I mean I’d love to see my almost 90-year-old parents. I haven’t been able to see them, last February was the last time I was there and able to visit,” says Mandell.

Others, like Mike Huggett of Madison, already have plans to hit the skies again. He’s headed to Arizona on Saturday for a week. “It’s just kind of a quick getaway. Do some golfing, relaxing, get out in the sun,” says Huggett.

He plans to take the recommended precautions during his travels. “We’re just going to try to keep contact to a minimum in the airports themselves. Other than that, I feel the airline itself is ok,” says Huggett.

Mary Miller, the President & Owner of Middleton Travel, says she’s heard both of these perspectives from her clients over the last few months.

“Everybody is at a different level right now. I can feel really good getting on a plane tomorrow, but you may not. Maybe you need another 3 or 4 months to feel good about it,” says Miller.

Miller says the new year is bringing some renewed interest in planning getaways. “We’re optimistic for the last part of the year that we see people being more confident.” Says Miller.

All the resorts Middleton Travel works with are capping occupancy at 60% for the year, meaning spots could fill up quick.

“No matter whether you want to go this summer or next fall or even next winter, the sooner you book the better, because you’re going to be more likely to get a good deal at this time,” says Miller.

After a year of many cancellations, agents with Middleton Travel are recommending you purchase insurance for your trip to offer additional security. “I think we all have learned the importance of anticipating a cancellation,” says Middleton.

Miller herself is anxious to see the travel industry come back to life in the year to come. “It is coming back slow but sure. But it will be back and it will be back like a tsunami,” says Miller.

The CDC says to know your level of risk if you choose to travel and still recommends staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

You should also check for testing or quarantine requirements for your destination.

Copyright 2021 WMTV. All rights reserved.