Travel incentives abound, but are they enough to convince wary tourists?

Some countries, airlines, cruise companies and hotels are offering special deals to incentivize travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 caused many countries to implement travel restrictions, many of which are now being lifted or softened. Countries are now giving deals like free lodging, paying half of flight costs and discounts on excursions in order to entice tourists to visit. However, in spite of eased travel restrictions and these deals, the tourism industry is still struggling.

Jackie Yaniz, a travel agent and owner of Jackie Travel, has seen firsthand how travel has been affected by COVID-19.

“The travel agency started to feel the effects of COVID-19 in February,” she said. “The clients were calling to inquire about the possibility to cancel or postpone their travel plans for a later time.”

Yaniz also spoke about the different deals countries and businesses are offering to incentivize travel.

“Numerous countries are offering discounts at hotels to attract travelers after the COVID-19 crisis,” she said. “Some hotels are offering 25 percent discounts on a nightly rate for a room. Other hotels have offered a free night of lodging when booking at least three nights.”

Alejandro Ramos, a 20-year-old student at Florida International University, said that a good deal would likely be enough to motivate him to travel.

“The deals certain countries are offering are enough to convince me to start traveling again,” he said. “As long as people practice social distancing and other safety protocols, like wearing proper face masks and using hand sanitizer and I do the same, it should be fine.”

Ramos also spoke about which destinations he would be interested in going to based on the deals they are offering and the overall cost of travel.

“I am interested in going to Japan, Spain or Canada as I have been wanting to go to these places for a while and they have good deals,” he said. “I will consider other countries too once they reopen and have their own deals to offer. This is a unique opportunity to travel at an affordable price.”

Even though countries around the world are offering deals to travel, COVID-19 is still on the rise. Some people don’t think the deals are worth the risk of catching the virus.

“I do not believe the deals are worth it as the number of cases grows every day,” said Leticia Cobas, a 21-year-old FIU student. “I also have to think about my 81-year-old aunt because if she is infected, she has a higher chance of having a severe case of COVID-19.”

Christopher Gomez a student at FIU majoring in Communications studying Journalism. He enjoys cooking and photography in his free time.