The world we knew when you could travel easily by air to anywhere in the world seems like a different a world. We are in an age of change, where our very ability to connect has been restricted by COVID-19. Life is not going to return to what is was, whatever the future brings will be influenced by how we respond to this moment and how the response continues moving forward.
One of the first industries to get hit was tourism from hotels, restaurants, airline travel and on and on. Even though the vaccines have started to get into arms the day when people could travel globally freely will remain out of reach. The first 10 months of 2020 saw the collapse of airline and tourism across the world as the stay-at-home orders mounted causing a fall in international arrivals by 72% according to the (UN World Tourism Organization) in effect wiping out hundreds of billions of dollars for those who rely on tourism.
As someone who was travelling extensively prior to the pandemic, I feel for the people I met whose livelihood has vanished through no fault of their own. It has setback an uncountable amount of people back, forcing them being unable to provide for themselves or their families.
I can’t see a time in 2021 when we will be able to travel as we did before, I think a form of normalcy will return but it will be different as some habits and extreme actions to combat the virus become part of our every day lives.
From more people being able to work-from-home, to less need for corporate travel and the dimming of global tourism because of fear of the virus will shape the next decade of global development. A lot of it will be to return to where we once were, to a recognition that this is also a chance to change where we are heading or at least how we get there.
I crave the chance to get on a plane and travel but will not travel until the border restrictions ease and the risk of being a vector for COVID-19 to infect someone else is blunted by a high rate of vaccination.
Tourism right now is too risky but eventually it will return and maybe the past can be a reflection on our future. When the end of the Spanish flu happened, the US experienced the roaring 20’s, maybe the pent up demand for travel and tourism that have been taken away will lead to a period of exploration that will accelerate and lead to new and better ways to be tourists that help make it more sustainable and less damaging to those places that people rightfully want to see for themselves. Until that day when we can see and touch distant lands…