Travel agent: ‘Stay put and wait for deals’

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A travel agent for 42 years, Luis Azevedo is much calmer about coronavirus than many of his clients anxious to cancel trips or wondering if they can travel.

“It’s not going to put me out of commission,” said the owner of Gomes Travel Service in Peabody. 

With the virus totaling more cases and airlines slashing flights as travel restrictions loom, Kathy Lucey of Saugus is helping her travel agency clients decide if they are going to cancel trips.

“I know it’s stressful for people. I tell them, ‘Go with your gut feeling,’” she said. 

The rapid and stressful alterations in daily life coronavirus is imposing on people prompted travel professionals like Azevedo, Yakov Tseitlin of Lynn, Salem agent and Sensational Travel owner Marisa L. Cole to guide customers to a decision to travel or not travel.

“They have to be comfortable whether they go or stay. A travel professional cuts through obstacles to get things done,” Cole said.

As a former Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce board member and certified travel consultant, Cole is confident the home-based agency she has run for 18 years will survive the travel downturn. 

Tseitlin, owner of Free Wind Travel in Lynn, and Amy Grishman, owner of Swampscott-based Charm & Awe Travel Co., said airlines are making changes day to day in schedules and flights and also making allowances on cancellations and penalties.

Once they are positioned to rebound, airlines will offer discounts and deals to attract customers. 

“We’re anticipating travelers will be offered great deals,” Grishman said. 

She urged people planning to travel to avoid getting bogged down on the internet and check the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization websites for accurate information on coronavirus travel risks.

It’s only Grishman’s third year in the travel business but the former marketing professional is confident she can weather the virus and its impact on business. 

Azevedo said his Main Street insurance business will provide a financial cushion against travel business losses. Most of his clients are interested in traveling to southern Europe.

Tseitlin, who hopes a travel rebound will make his firm’s 25th anniversary in October a happy milestone, is doing his best to get customers where they want to go.

He reunited a woman with family in the Ukraine by routing her flight through Turkey. Another client wants to fly to Prague on March 28 for a spa vacation.

“Our advice is put on hold any plans,” Tseitlin said.

Travel agent: ‘Stay put and wait for deals’ – Itemlive : Itemlive
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Luis Azevedo, veteran travel agent and owner of Gomes Travel Service in Peabody, urges people to “stay put and wait for deals” amid concerns over COVID-19. (Spenser R. Hasak)