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In-Depth: Northeast Ohio traveler COVID-19 related trip cancellations spike as CDC tightens restrictions

N.E. Ohio traveler COVID related trip cancellations spike as CDC tightens restrictions
N.E. Ohio traveler COVID related trip cancellations spike as CDC tightens restrictions
N.E. Ohio traveler COVID related trip cancellations spike as CDC tightens restrictions
Posted at 9:03 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 23:22:08-05

CLEVELAND — Ohio travel experts report more local travelers are canceling or are adjusting international trips, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds travel requirements, and are considering adding even more.

Leah Molinari, Owner of Molinari Travel in Rocky River told News 5 a significant number of her clients are switching international vacations to domestic locations after the CDC launched a requirement for proof of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all international air passengers within 3 days of boarding a flight back to the United States.

The requirement took effect on Jan. 26 and now the CDC is considering making the test mandatory for all domestic travel.

“The Caribbean was a big destination, now we’re looking at more domestic travel, also Hawaii and Puerto Rico are exempt right now for the return requirement, so some are switching to those locations," Molinari said.

"This requirement is generating a lot of questions, how am I going to find it, how am I going to guarantee I’m going to get it within 72-hours, am I going to be stuck in quarantine.”

Still, Molinari said Northeast Ohioans are booking some international trips for later in 2021, hoping COVID-19 testing requirements will start to relax as COVID-19 numbers subside.

“Some travelers Just want to get something on the books, for a lot of people just having something planned, having something to look forward to is huge,” Molinari explained.

Dana And Vickie Buchholzer of Richfield canceled more than a half dozen trips in 2020
Dana And Vickie Buchholzer of Richfield canceled more than a half dozen trips in 2020

Local Travelers Still Feel the COVID-19 Impact

Dana and Vickie Buchholzer of Richfield said they've canceled more than a half-dozen trips since the pandemic picked up speed in March 2020

“We had a trip planned and paid for to San Francisco," Dana Buchholzer said.

“We belong to several vacation clubs, so this is already becoming very expensive because we’ve either prepaid for things or paying as you go along.”

“We were going to go to Cabo San Lucas in December, and we thought that just wouldn’t be prudent.”

"If you have to stay quarantined where you’re at, you can’t come back, you miss your flight, and then you have all those expenses.”

"We’re actually looking at a driving trip mid-summer, and hopefully after that, we’ll be able to return to some flying trips.”

"We’re probably looking at flying trip, probably the latter part of the year, fourth quarter.”

"I’d advise anybody to buy the insurance, we did that for the December trip, and thank God we did, and also the medical insurance too.”

Ohio travel experts believe leisure travel will start bouncing back very quickly
Ohio travel experts believe leisure travel will start bouncing back very quickly

Ohio Travel Experts Expect an International Travel Comeback in Late 2021

Amir Eylon, CEO WITH Longwoods International, a market research agency specializing in travel and tourism, told News 5 he expects travel to make a nice comeback in the latter part of 2021.

“Most American travelers are planning their first leisure trips for the second half of the year,” Eylon said.

"Know the rules of the destination that you’re looking at, in every community, there’s a local convention and visitors bureau, some type of local tourism bureau, they’re doing a wonderful job on their websites with the latest information."

“Find out what are the latest rules and regulations, do you have to wear a mask, is there a quarantine requirement, do you have to show upon arrival and negative COVID test?"

Elyon said his agency's most recent COVID-19 travel sentiment study indicates vaccine progress is a factor in upcoming travel for most.

“Every two weeks we are talking to thousands of American travelers,” Elyon said.

“If you travel dates are pretty much set in stone for later this year, go ahead and book, because right now the prices are pretty good.”

“Travelers said the first trip that they have planned for 2021, 51% say the first trip is going to be to visit friend and relatives.”

"But we believe that leisure travel is going to start bouncing back very, very quickly.”