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Coronavirus is altering travel plans for some Montanans

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Posted at 11:30 AM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 13:30:35-04

Travel agencies say they've felt the impacts of coronavirus concerns here at home, but it's not stopping some Montana residents from taking to the skies.

Officials with Travel Café say while travel bans restrict certain destinations, clients are choosing to delay their trips or head to a different destination.

"We've had more recommendations - in other words, if people were going to Italy they now are making choices to go somewhere else,” said Travel Café operations manager Betsy Baumgart. “This particular couple instead of Italy decided to go to Jamaica."

She says agents are seeing more travel deals to non-restricted countries, which are working to attract vacationers.

“A lot of discounted deposits, cancellations seven days before,” she said. “If you're interested in traveling at this point, there are wonderful deals right now.”

Baumgart says those that have chosen another trip aren’t regretting their decision: “I think that those are able to travel and traveling to destinations that don’t have restrictions are finding it very pleasurable because it’s not as crowded,” she said.

Travel cafe employs 13 agents in Billings, Bozeman and Missoula with operations also in Helena and Great Falls.

Baumgart says this isn't the first time Travel Cafe has been affected by global events, and they have no plans to reduce staff.