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Optimism amid uncertainty in Traverse City travel

As summer approaches many people seem excited to get back to travel, but many may not be ready to finalize plans just yet. Recent increases in Covid-19 cases in the state make it even more unclear when travel will return to normal.

Trevor Tkachis the president of Traverse City Tourism, he said early reservations are down for hotels and golf courses.

“Some indicators show that we will be busy but honestly a lot of people are booking their vacations within a shorter time frame, so we’re not getting as many advanced bookings as we have, but we anticipate many last minute bookings or more bookings after the vaccine is more widespread,” said Tkach.

He predicts a turning point later in the spring or summer, as vaccinations continue to increase and the current case surge falls off travel and reservations could shoot up.

Tkach said the area is prepared for it as well, with all of the lessons learned last summer many businesses have already made improvements to have safer experiences outdoors or with social distancing.

A large part of tourism in the Traverse City region comes from two major festivals, the Cherry Festival and Film Festival. Tkach said that while he finds the film festival unlikely this year due to theaters being the enclosed non-socially distanced spaces they are, the Cherry festival still has a shot.

He said, “My gut tells me we’re still having a National Cherry Festival this summer, there’s something still gonna happen, there’ll be an opportunity to celebrate our agriculture here in northern Michigan, it’ll probably look different, I’d be surprised if they completely mothballed the event two years in a row.”

Cherry festival organizers have said there will be some sort of event this summer and that they will be sharing plans as it gets closer.

Tkach said all things considered, even with the current surge, there could be a good travel season later in the year.