Wintery Weather a Boost for Local Travel Agencies

By Mallory Lane

Published 02/03 2014 06:14PM

Updated 02/03 2014 06:38PM

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - While the latest blast of winter weather is causing problems for some travelers, others are determined to get out of town and it's helping local businesses.

This snowy mess Monday is wreaking havoc on local roadways and making Yvonne Smith's phone ring off the hook.

"It makes the phones ring as soon as the temperatures dip," Smith, of One 2 One Travel in State College, said.

She's a travel agent and her clients are looking for just one thing.

"Sunny destinations and they're looking for ideas as well," Smith said. "The Caribbean destinations (are popular) and I've seen a little uptick in Jamaica this year."

Let's just say for travel agencies, this weather is good for business.

"I think the cold temperatures, besides the snow, we did have snow last year, I think that extreme cold has really made people want to leave and get away," Smith said.

"We're probably about 15-percent higher than last year," Ray McGill, with Nittany Travel, said. "It's typical for this time of year, but this year has been exceptionally cold, which comes kind of with mixed blessings because no one really likes the cold, but everyone wants to get out of it, so for me, it's a good thing."

McGill says cruises and all-inclusive vacations are the top destinations so far.

Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of winter, Smith says bring it on.

"The cruise lines and a lot of the tour companies do wonderful specials, upgrades, freebies, reduced rates," she said. "It's a good time to be calling your travel agent and taking advantage of the sales."

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