I started my business about three and a half years ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew one thing, I was going to do everything in my power to make sure it was successful. I had friends tell me I shouldn’t quit my full time job and dedicate myself to my business. “Do travel agencies still exist? Are you sure you want to do this?” Yes! If I am ever going to start a business, now is the time. I felt like I was getting too old and my employer said I had a home to come back to if I ever needed it. This was my dream and so I ran with it. I love to travel and I love to help people travel. Travel agencies not only exist, they are in demand. It has been an amazing experience so far and I have been very fortunate. I added a Disney specialist. Business was fantastic.
Most people do not realize that for the majority of what we do, we don’t get paid until very close to or even after a client travels. Most of what we had booked over the last twelve months was almost immediately wiped out. A years worth of trips gone and no income to show for it. Most of our suppliers have been amazing to work with and done all they can to help but they are suffering with millions of cancellations. Cruise ships are sitting empty. Resorts are severely limited. Tours, hotels, trains, you name it, the travel and tourism industry is hurting and it will be a while before it recovers fully.
My dream became a nightmare.
Now replace travel with any number of other industries. Replace my dream with theirs. I live in the Short Pump area of Virginia. Too many locally owned businesses are gone. Several major chain businesses are gone too. All of these businesses and all the jobs they created gone due to something that is completely beyond their control.
Everyone is looking toward Washington for help right now. In the early stages I was hopeful. They passed the Payroll Protection Program and while it was far too short a time it was valuable. They extended and improved unemployment. They were asking people to stay home and not work. They were shutting down businesses for the safety of the masses. This was the right move in my opinion. Take the right actions early and we suffer less later. So what happened?
Why have our representatives failed us? I refuse to call them leaders. Leadership is action not position and their actions, both sides, have shown that the needs of the people are not as important as the consolidation of power for themselves. Social media is abound with people talking about how their chosen candidate is wonderful and how the other side is terrible. The truth is far more sad. Both sides care only about themselves and their power. People are suffering. More people will lose their homes, their jobs, their businesses and some will lose their lives. And what does Congress do? They point fingers and refuse to do what is necessary to help the people.
In spite of all this, people have been booking trips into 2021 and 2022 over the last month. They want something to look forward to and I am feeling more confident that we are headed toward better days. I feel confident that my agency will be one of the fortunate ones that make it through to the other end. Cruise lines have recently submitted their recommendations for sailing safely to the CDC and the no sail order is close to being lifted. There are a ton of great resorts that have put protocols in place to ensure safety of their guests. As it has in the past, the travel and tourism industry has adapted to the situation.
I have adapted as well. Its been tough but I am in this for the long haul. I have expanded my knowledge and found suppliers I like that provide more domestic options like cabins and houses. There are a ton of great resort options available and I can guide you to make sure you meet the criteria for traveling. Options for 2021 and 2022 are better than ever before and prices are as low as they have ever been. It’s time to find something to look forward to. I am here and I can help.
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