HONOLULU (KHON2) — Air travel is taking off again one year into the pandemic. Local travel agencies say they are starting to see an uptick of residents booking trips again, despite the Centers for Disease Control advising against non-essential trips.
One local travel agency said they have started seeing more bookings to Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas is in demand right now,” said said Anna Pidong, Everlasting Travel and Services Manager. “A lot of people want to go to Las Vegas.”
Pidong said, Everlasting Travel and Services has seen a 10% increase in calls for Las Vegas bookings It is not much but she said it is a start from where they were in 2020.
“The mainland market is stable,” said Pidong. “Because people, people they like to travel. They would like to go out already, they want to release their stress.”
They are also seeing more locals head to places like Seattle and Portland. Travel agency Panda Travel tells KHON2 West Coast cities are a popular choice for locals right now due to lower prices.
Hawaiian Airlines is seeing the interest in travel grow too. Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement on their website:
“We have seen an upward trend in booking since mid-January as COVID-19 cases decline, confidence in the vaccines grow, and people feel comfortable traveling again.”
“One of the biggest things that people – there’s a pent up demand, you know we’ve all been cooped up. We’ve all been stuck in inside,” said Jerry Agrusa, a professor with the University of Hawaii’s Travel Industry Management school. “Second thing is the Inexpensiveness of the airfare. We’ve had some really really low airfares to keep the airlines going.”
Agrusa adds, popular destinations like Las Vegas and Los Angeles are becoming even more alluring as they begin to reopen more businesses and activities.
He said, people often feel comfortable travelling to places they have already been.
“It’s something that they’re used to doing, they just haven’t done it in over a year,” said,” said Agrusa. “I think that’s one of the reasons and they probably have family and friends there.”
He says he also expects to see more locals travelling as they get vaccinated.