All Points Travel Connections has been in business for more than 25 years. When the pandemic hit, the travel industry took a major financial hit.

Kim Smith of Valrico has been working at All Points Travel Connections for a little over a year and the company has been in business for more than 25 years.

“Before COVID, business was booming,” Smith said. “Even for the first few months, with rescheduling, new bookings, etc., I do mostly the cruise industry and the theme parks. That’s the niche where I thrive, probably because I truly love both industries.”

Then the pandemic hit and, as Smith puts it, “We’re docked.”

“No cruises at this time,” Smith said. “In addition, no one is really welcoming Americans right now. People don’t want to come to Florida, spend $10 plus for their magical Disney vacation on a chance of staying healthy. People are scared, and rightfully so. I think, from the travel agents’ perspective, the most frustrating part has been the push-out. Every time they push a sail date back, it’s a ton of work for us.”

Since the beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in $463 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy. The continual depressed level of travel spending has caused a loss of $59.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue since March 1 (www.ustravel.org).

Traveling within the U.S. has some challenges with COVID-19 numbers on the rise. Due to the pandemic, international travel has many new restrictions and processes.

“The states aren’t very difficult, but with that said, the U.S. has been very complacent,” Smith said. “Even though states ‘require quarantine’ when you cross the state line, no one enforces it. It also depends on state to state as far as what’s open to the public and capacity controlled. As far as international travel, the places that are accepting Americans have strict quarantines set in place. For example, you need a negative COVID test within a certain window of time prior to travel, plus you need to quarantine for 10-14 days depending on the country of your final destination.”

Smith is very hopeful for the travel industry in the coming year.

“I know the travel industry will come back even stronger,” Smith said. “It’s just going to take time. It did with 9/11 and it will now. People love to travel. Our wings are just clipped for now.”

To learn more about All Points Travel Connections, visit www.allpointstravelconnections.com.

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.