SAN ANTONIO – The availability of vaccines designed to combat the coronavirus seem to be acting as a shot of confidence for some San Antonians when it comes to the idea of summer travel.
They say they are more than ready to take a vacation after a year of being cooped up due to quarantines, closures and regulations.
“I plan to take some time off. I’ve already been vaccinated so hopefully I can get some travel in,” said Ramsey Gardner. “Maybe in the Caribbean or, I don’t know, maybe somewhere in Asia.”
Gardner, who is in the military, says he has no fear of flying on a commercial airliner.
Neither does Ileana Meckelin. She and her family may be headed to South Africa, which requires an 18-hour-long flight.
“We were planning to do it last year but we couldn’t do it,” she said. “So maybe we’ll get to do it this year.”
The COVID-19 outbreak had people all around the world putting their travel plans on hold.
Alice Petry, owner of Petry Travel, helped some San Antonians negotiate the treacherous waters of getting refunds on their vacations.
Now she says a lot of those people and more are anxious to try traveling again.
“It was like the floodgates opened. People saying, ‘I want to go somewhere,’” Petry said. “I think they’re feeling a little bit more comfortable in the last two weeks. They’ve had their vaccinations.”
During the past two weeks, Petry says her phones have been ringing off the hooks.
While vaccinations have brought more interest in vacations, she says all destinations may not be ready.
Cruise ships, for example, still are not leaving from any U. S. ports yet, she said.
Air travel to other countries also can be iffy, some requiring various tests or regulations, Petry said.
Right now, she is recommending trips closer to home.
“We have the Mexico beaches, but there’s a lot to see in the United States also,” she said.
Chenelle Harrison, who recently moved to San Antonio from Las Vegas, will be spending her summer vacation getting to know the area.
“We got passes to SeaWorld so we’re planning on doing that and my family is going to fly in from Florida,” Harrison said. “We want to go to the beach, go to Corpus. We heard it was fun there so we’re looking forward to that.”
It appears now her family may have quite a bit of company.
Richard Oliver, director of partner and community relations for Visit San Antonio, says the signs are all here for a good season of tourism.
“We’re really waiting to get out our calculators and to look at what happened in spring break because just the eye test told us it was outstanding,” Oliver said.
Most of San Antonio’s tourists, about 70 percent, come from within the state of Texas, he said.
With popular attractions, such as The Alamo, starting to return to more normal schedules, the expectations are for an increase in visitors.
However, Oliver says we most likely won’t see a typical summer by any means.
“Anything is going to be such a bonus from what we had to deal with in 2020. But we feel very good about what’s going on,” he said.
KSAT12 also reached out to the San Antonio International Airport and AAA of Texas.
Neither has compiled any hard data yet for summer travel expectations.