The pandemic could affect the travel industry forever | News

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WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) – The pandemic could affect our lives long after the vaccine.

Traffic at Bradley International Airport was down 75 percent last year as thousands of Connecticut families decided to pass on flying.

The pandemic could change travel forever.

The testing site at Bradley probably won’t last forever, but what about the shields and mask requirements? Experts say they may stay a while longer.

“I like to take a lot of photos and through my photos I like to tell a lot of stories,” said Nonee Ngazimibi, Hartford blogger.

Nonee Ngazimbi is a nurse practitioner who needed an outlet, so she started her lifestyle blog, Nonee’s World. It focuses heavily on travel.

“My favorite place to travel will always be Africa. That’s where I’m from, it’s always home to me,” Ngazimbi said.

Like the majority of people, travel for Ngazimbi was halted last year. Unlike many people, her job thrust her into the frontlines.

“I’ve been working COVID ICE since the beginning of the pandemic,” Ngazimbi said.

So, the blog, which has a following in the thousands, has been put on the backburner, and when it emerges from the quarantine, traveling may look a lot different.

“People want a guarantee. They want to feel safe. They want their blankie,” said Peter Greenberg.

National travel expert Peter Greenberg says that safety many come in the form of mask wearing, continued increased disinfecting of planes, but the biggest game changer could be a vaccine passport.

“You can’t book a seat on Quantas unless you can show a proof of vaccination. I’m almost guaranteeing you that is what will happen in the cruise industry,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg says it may not just apply to cruises.

“What you’re going to see is the intersection between widespread vaccination, the development of fast response, reliable testing, and the pent-up demand to travel,” Greenberg said.

According to an American Hotel and Lodging Association poll, 56 percent of Americans say they’re likely to travel for fun this year. Another 48 percent say their willingness to fly is tied to the vaccine, so cheap airfare can be found right now.

“The airfare today, as of today, from New York to Los Angeles round trip is $200. This time a year ago, it was $640,” Greenberg said.

He says expect deals like that to last until April.

Business travel is one sector that may never fully recover. Jan Jones from the University of New Haven says Zoom meetings may have changed the industry forever.

“Conference folks, especially business folks, spend most in the city, so local restaurants then are not benefitting. Hotels are not benefitting,” Jones said.

When Bradley is bustling again and the middle seats are put back in action, it’ll be a sign that things have gotten back to normal.

In the meantime, Connecticut’s influencer working the frontlines will stay on the sideline.

“Not being able to travel has been, there’s a hole in my soul because of it, but I know it’s for the greater food at this time and I’m holding back until it’s safe for us to do so,” Ngazimbi said.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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