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Expert: Take staffing shortages into account when planning your vacation

Tuesday is "National Plan A Vacation Day" and 2022's vacation season will bring with it some unusual challenges and opportunities.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tourists who plan out their vacations at the beginning of the year tend to have more success when executing their vacation plans. That's the idea behind National Plan A Vacation Day, which falls on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Dan Sippel, the CEO and Executive Director of the West Michigan Tourist Association, says limited availability due to staffing shortages are something people will want to keep in mind throughout the 2022 tourist season.

"Properties are only minimum two-night or three-nights stays, and in the summer, a week stay minimum because they don't have enough help," Sippel said. 

"Restaurants are cutting hours. They're even cutting days. And we highly encourage people to double check ahead where they think they're going and what they think they're going to do, and what those most-current hours are going to be because businesses have some issues out there with hiring people."

Sippel says Michigan's tourism industry is doing surprisingly well considering the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy in general. Outdoor attractions are doing particularly well.

"There's so much pent up demand to get especially outside right now. Ski resorts are doing a wonderful business. A little more snow wouldn't hurt, but they're doing a great business," he said.

"State parks had 35% more reservations last year than any other time. They get booked. Book your state park trip now."

Restaurants and bars, Sippel says, have continued to do a good job of adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by making outdoor seating available and comfortable, even during the winter months.

"Whether it's a brewery a winery, or a flat-out restaurant, they're doing the igloos outside, and they're heated and they're actually quite nice and sometimes you have to make a reservation for those two because they're quite popular."

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