Wisconsin travel agents see growing demands post-COVID restrictions

Angela Isherwood owns a travel agency called Olive and Atlas and has seen her client list continually grow in 2022. She said demand for travel has skyrocketed.

Growing prices for travel haven’t stopped Wisconsinites from booking vacations in the waning days of the pandemic, and the influx has left some local travel agents scrambling to find dwindling accommodations for their clients. 

The owner of Hartland-based travel agency Olive & Atlas,  Angela Isherwood has seen her client list grow in the past few months as travelers book family vacations and overdue honeymoon trips. 

“The demand for overseas travel has completely skyrocketed. Particularly Europe, because it was closed and was the most complicated to get to since the pandemic started. It’s just bonkers,” she said. 

Places nationwide and even abroad — countries like Italy, France, Greece and Ireland — are all seeing huge demand, and little upcoming availability for accommodations, she said. 

Changes to COVID rules

Despite the uptick, travel still has not returned to a pre-pandemic normal. And COVID-19 safety measures vary widely this summer, depending on where you’re headed. 

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International travelers are no longer required to show a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter the USA, as of June 12, President Joe Biden’s administration announced. It’s a change from the past year, when the country required a negative test for entry. 

Travel agent Angela Isherwood snaps a photo in Venice, Italy in February 2022.

“It’s been a whirlwind of change,” said Isherwood. “Everyone’s comfort level is varied. “

For those who are comfortable hopping on a plane this summer, travel agent Emily Schultz said that constantly changing COVID-19 recommendations are leaving travelers more confused than ever. She said that more travelers are seeking out professional travel agents to help them navigate the new rules.

“As far as CDC recommendations on masks, vaccines or testing, for a lot of people it’s hard to keep up with and know what information is correct and what’s false. So I feel like they’ve been wanting to turn to professionals more,” said Schultz, the owner of Waukesha-based Magic Mom Travel.

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