Beach Vacations

U.S. travel busy this summer despite surge in COVID-19 cases

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A travel agent in Delray Beach said they have been busy booking vacations this summer despite the delta variant causing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Ted Hoskinson of Delray Beach just returned to the U.S. after taking a cruise in Europe.

“We traveled to Croatia for seven days,” Hoskinson said.

He said the ship only had about 100 people aboard and the COVID-19 rules were strict, which included mask requirements and daily COVID-19 tests.

“We were considered to be in a bubble [during the cruise],” Hoskinson said.

Jeff Dash, Delray Beach travel agent

WPTV

Jeff Dash explains the hot travel bookings he has seen this summer.

He booked his trip through Dash Travel.

Owner and travel expert Jeff Dash spoke with WPTV in January and predicted the travel industry would start to see a rebound this time of the year.

“Exactly as we predicted, the staycations were the quickest to recover,” Dash said.

Discover the Palm Beaches backs up Dash’s statement by reporting hotel occupancy at 70 percent in June and 68 percent in July.

CEO Jorge Pesquera said those numbers mirror 2019 before the pandemic.

“We have more hotels available in 2021. We sold about 20,000 more room nights,” Pesquera said.

Dash said he is seeing more people booking in-state and U.S. vacations because that is what’s available right now.

“I haven’t seen much in a drop-off for a means for travel. I just see more questions being asked,” Dash said.

He said he’s getting questions about the delta variant and new rules and guidance in place.

Travel numbers at PBIA in June 2019 and June 2021

WPTV

Travel numbers at Palm Beach International Airport during June of this year were comparable to the June before the pandemic.

Dash said all of his clients booking with him are vaccinated, so the variant hasn’t impacted his business.

“The only thing really missing is the international component for travel became it is slow to recover and will be very slow to recover in 2021,” Dash said.

The number of travelers at Palm Beach International Airport shows June was similar to 2019 with 443,000 people flying.

The Transportation Security Agency is reporting an average of about 2 million passengers screened a day in August.

Pesquera said they are still optimistic about the tourism recovery, but they have concerns about the delta variant impact.

“Seventy-five percent of Americans are still dreaming about that travel vacation,” Dash said.