Local travel agencies impacted by spread of coronavirus

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The spread of the coronavirus is a concern globally and impacts many industries, including travel. So for those who work in the industry, it's been a hectic few weeks.

"We've been super busy with calls from our existing clients," said Sharon Betts, co-owner and travel adviser at Avant Travel. "We are speaking to our suppliers worldwide to get all the latest information in real time."

Marti Lombardo with Going Places Travel in Georgetown says none of their clients have canceled yet.

"We sort of just reworked some of their trips," Lombardo said. "I had one client that was supposed to go on a transatlantic cruise. We are kind of just watching it."

With reports of the coronavirus spreading around the world, the plans are having to be pretty fluid.

"We did have clients in Asia," Betts said. "We had four cruises booked and they all were canceled. And the cruise line actually refunded the cruise because they canceled it."

Even those who aren't cancelling are sometimes changing their destinations.

"They were going to Bangkok in Cambodia and he decided that he didn’t want to take the chance," Lombardo said. "He was taking his two younger daughters so I didn’t wanna take the chance of going there, so we reworked him to South America. And he’s leaving in two weeks."

"One of our clients is in Asia right now and they were doing a three month trip and we’ve been in contact with them almost daily and so instead of going to China now to switch the trip, they’re going to end in London," Betts said.

They're doing their best to keep their clients informed, but it also is up to travelers to protect themselves.

"It’s up to each person's comfort zone as to what they want to do," said Betts.

They say some of their customers did have insurance to protect those trips, but if it covers the coronavirus is a case by case issue.

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