While the Delta variant of COVID-19 has stalled some vacation plans, tourists are still coming to Tahlequah.
“We’re having tourists from all over,” said Gena McPhail, director of tourism for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve had tourists from Germany, Poland, and from all over the United States. We’re having a lot of people moving in from Texas who are coming in to speak with us and get different highlights of the area.”
Some people are calling McPhail to ask about safety protocols and whether businesses are open, but she said tourists haven’t been prevented from traveling.
“Our rivers are packed and our hotels are packed with people going to the river, but a lot of people are coming and going to the Cherokee Nation museums,” McPhail said. “We’ve also had some antique shoppers – more than normal, which is sort of interesting.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all air passengers coming into the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S. The CDC also recommends people delay their travel plans until they are fully vaccinated.
Canada recently opened its borders back up for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens, allowing American tourists for the fist time since the pandemic started. U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said the policy change will spur economic recovery for the U.S.’s northern neighbor that’s critically needed in the states.
“Reopening the U.S. land border to fully vaccinated Canadians would mark a good starting point toward rebuilding our own travel economy, and the Biden administration should reciprocate this policy decision – given the high rate of vaccination across Canada – without further delay,” he said. “Every month that travel remains stagnant, the U.S. loses $1.5 billion in potential travel exports and leaves countless American businesses vulnerable.”
The European Union has contemplated reimposing restrictions on U.S. travelers, and has reportedly indicated the Council of the European Union will continue to monitor the U.S. America, meanwhile, still has not lifted restrictions banning more European travelers.
Not everyone is ready to start traveling just yet. According to the U.S. Travel Association’s monthly report, just about two-thirds of Americans were comfortable going on vacation throughout June and July. The Delta variant has negatively impacted upcoming travel plants for one in four Americans, too.
The cruise industry has restarted the engines, as many of the largest U.S. companies have resumed sailing. Departing from Galveston, Texas, and Miami, Carnival Cruise Line resumed its operations in early July, with the line requiring 95 percent of travelers to be fully vaccinated for each ship to set sail. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, the second- and third-largest cruise operations, have also resumed welcoming guests aboard.
Some popular amusement destinations have eased restrictions and are no longer requiring masks for vaccinated individuals, but still highly encourage their use in indoor settings. The Walt Disney World Resort recently reinstated its mask policy, so face coverings are required indoors, on attractions, and in enclosed transportation, regardless of vaccination status.
Linda Spyres, of Vacations R Us in Tahlequah, did not return phone calls by press time.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.tahlequahdailypress.com/news/tourists-still-flocking-to-tahlequah-despite-delta/article_696691dd-b5cf-5385-9b65-83a574f7dfdf.html