LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – A surge in travel over the holiday weekend is expected to extend into the summer.
Dr. Nancy Hubbard, Dean of the College of Business at the University of Lynchburg, was one of a diminished crowd of travelers during the pandemic.
“I went to Europe in December and had I made a side trip to England, I would have needed six COVID tests in a week to enter and re-enter different countries,” said Hubbard.
She believes fewer and less-changeable travel restrictions are a big reason for the uptick in travel over the past three to five months, adding that lower COVID numbers than this time last year are also likely playing a role.
As more people book tickets and rooms for their summer vacation, the rise in demand will have its consequences.
“I think there’s going to be an issue for consumers in prices and availability,” said Hubbard. “We’ve seen for the past couple of months that airlines are canceling flights when they can’t get staffing.”
Hubbard says careers in hotels, catering, and tourism tend to be lower-paying jobs, and as staff look for other sources of income, businesses will be facing this surge while being understaffed.
Another obstacle is inflation.
Fuel, food and the costs of operating are all going up. Hubbard said while the summer season will bring more income, it will also bring challenges.
“I think it’s going to be tricky for them to balance this and still keep up their levels of customer service,” said Hubbard. “But I also think it’s on the consumer to understand that the businesses will try to do the best that they can under the constraints that they’ve got.”