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Back at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote on this page that in many ways, the crisis started with travel and travel will be the end of it. Seeing people traveling freely again will be a good indication that the world is finally on its way to normalcy.
Sadly, as we begin a new year, we are not there yet. On the bright side, however, we do seem to be entering a new phase of the crisis — with vaccine distribution, another economic stimulus and new national leadership all in the works. Industry organizations, such as the American Society of Travel Advisors, have pledged to continue putting pressure on officials so that travel companies and individuals are not forgotten. It is also up to each of us to get in touch with legislators and make sure that relief efforts, including vaccine distribution, are managed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Surveys indicate that a widely distributed vaccine is the No. 1 factor that will lead to a resumption of travel. So it is in all our best interests to make that happen.
Seeing people traveling freely again will be a good indication that the world is finally on its way to normalcy.
And while we are at it, let’s not forget to prioritize travel industry workers, who are essential to the economy’s recovery, as it is decided who gets the vaccine. Flight attendants, attraction workers, hotel staff, tour leaders, cruise ship crew members and other public-facing positions are going to be on the frontline of our rebound — here and around the globe. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel is the seventh-largest industry in the U.S. and is responsible for supporting one out of every 10 jobs, so making sure that travel workers are safe would be a huge step toward economic revitalization.
While you might notice that you do not get the print issue of TravelAge West as often as you used to — we are decreasing our print frequency to 16 times per year — we will continue to provide readers with all the information they need to navigate through this crisis. You can find our stories in print, as well as on our website and in our e-newsletters (visit www.travelagewest.com/newsletters to sign up). And, together, we will emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.