Spokane travel specialists address travel concerns as Coronavirus spreads

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Travelers are facing some uncertainty as the Coronavirus continues to spread across the globe. Cruises, flights and other travel activities have been cancelled by several companies.

Travel Leaders Vice President Hugh Himmelreich said he and the staff at the Spokane office are guiding people with questions to credible sources.

“We’re just asking people to use caution when they’re getting their information and making sure they are making the most educated decision they can make,” Himmelreich said.

Over the weekend, the Trump administration implemented expanded travel restrictions from Iran and heightened a travel advisory for certain parts of South Korea and Italy. Those countries, along with China, are under the highest travel advisory warning. The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to those places under a Level 3 Travel Health Notice.

Some companies are responding to the outbreak by changing cancellation policies temporarily. Alaska Airlines has suspended change and cancellation fees for fliers who decide not to travel due to Coronavirus concerns.

Himmelreich points to actions like that as a sign that travel vendors are trying to be flexible to keep people interested in traveling, despite concerns.

“That’s kind of the good news side is the vendors are understanding the concerns and willing to work with people much more than they were before,” Himmelreich said.

Himmelreich admitted that some Travel Leaders clients have cancelled or opted to re-book travel abroad.

“If it’s a meeting that they can postpone and do next month, then they’re going to re-book and we’re seeing a lot of that,” Himmelreich said.

At the end of the day, Himmelreich encourages people to be patient and follow credible and updated information from agencies like the CDC and World Health Organization.

“Ultimately it is their decision,” Himmelreich said. “We just have to make sure they have the information.”

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