Travel agents, companies take hit amid coronavirus vacation cancellations


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The travel industry is taking a major hit as coronavirus cases continue to spread nationwide. Local travel agencies are starting to see the negative impacts.

Edgewood Travel, a travel agency here in Savannah said the coronavirus could be the worst crisis to hit the travel industry since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The agency also said many people are canceling cruises and flights to stay safe.

“When Italy broke that’s when things started really ramping up as far as people being afraid to travel,” Edgewood Travel owner, Valerie Edgemon said.

A new blow to the travel industry as airlines start canceling flights leading passengers to hunker down at home. Edgewood Travel owner Valerie Edgemon said she’s starting to see the negative effects on her business stemming from the coronavirus.

“People are starting to cancel cruises that really are far out in the distance in terms of time. They’re canceling cruises on ships of 100 passengers so it really is making a big effect now,” Edgemon said.

When the virus first spread throughout China, Edgemon said it didn’t have a negative effect since not many people were traveling to Asia. After hearing concerns from her clients they’re more afraid than anything to be quarantined when they return home.

“We’re upbeat because we’ve been here before. We’ve gone through 9/11, we’ve gone through SARS, we’ve gone through MERS, we’ve gone through it all so we know we’ll be here next year. Just temporarily it’s not a happy place to be,” Edgemon said.

Now with these negative impacts Edgemon said her staff is stressed and they’re worried about what may come next.

“We’ll already have to start looking at overhead costs and cutting hours possibly. Not right now because we have to work with the clients to change their plans, but if it progresses much further we’ll have to look at some cost reductions,” Edgemon said.

With COVID-19 spreading there’s been a decrease in travel fare. Edgemon said it would be a good idea to start booking your next vacation now while prices are still down.

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