VACAYA 2020: A Look Back & Ahead
By Randle Roper
Early on in the pandemic, we realized how devastating a prolonged Covid-19 battle could be for the travel industry. With trips likely to be cancelled or postponed, VACAYA was challenged in myriad ways, with our very survival on the line. We didn’t have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines waiting for others to ultimately determine our fate. So we got into the game.
First, our focus was on those among us who were hit quickest and hardest – our entertainers. As theaters and performance venues began to shut down, we recognized our entertainers would soon all be out of work. From that, our Saturday Night Spotlight series was born. It ran longer than any of us had hoped (and as it turns out, not nearly long enough at over 3 months), but it raised tens of thousands of dollars for our performers.
Then came our guests, whose trips would soon be affected by the ever-worsening conditions. Through myriad face-to-face Zoom calls and lots of difficult discussions, we found the right path forward for nearly everyone and for the business. By October, we were the first LGBT+ travel company to successfully host a safety-protocol-driven event, our VACAYA Oasis Resort trip down in Mexico.
In addition, three Vacayans put themselves on the front lines – both figuratively and literally – by participating in the Pfizer Vaccine Trial.
No doubt you’ve heard the news the FDA has approved Pfizer’s new vaccine for emergency use in the US (following the same approvals in the UK, Canada, Bahrain, and Mexico). Pfizer’s vaccine and Moderna’s soon-to-be-approved vaccine are what will ultimately pull us all out of the darkness of the past year. The light at the end of the tunnel will continue to grow brighter and brighter over the next few months until we’re finally in the clear late spring.
We recognize these vaccines have been politicized in countless ways. For some, that politicization has led to doubts about the vaccine. The Vacayans didn’t sit on the sidelines at the start of the pandemic and we can’t do that now, either. So today we share our first-hand vaccine trial accounts with you in hopes that “knowing someone” who’s been through the gauntlet might help you with your decision…