Well, what totally unprecedented times for our modern world huh?
It started when we heard about people getting sick in certain countries. Not really on our turf so we were still OK. But then our realities shifted, slowly at first, and then before we knew it, the coronavirus took over completely.
Entire nations were ordered to stay at home, borders were closed, we were told not to go outside, airlines have gone bankrupt, travel companies are laying off massive amounts of workers and some just shutting doors, and hotels are now hospitals & quarantine centres.
So many places around the world depend on international tourism and they have truly felt the hit during the pandemic. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the decline in international tourism for the rest of 2020 could translate to $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in lost revenue for the industry.
That is an amount my wee brain cannot even comprehend!! It will certainly be a long road to recovery.
BACK TO NORMAL TRAVEL?
So, when things do start to return to “normal”, travel, especially international travel, will look quite different.
Will we think twice about the way we travel and the impact it has, or will we simply revert to our old ways as soon as we can hop on a flight?
I certainly hope it changes for the better; that we travel better; we experience better; we do better.
I truly do believe Mother Earth gave us a massive slap across the face and a huge kick up the butt. She was screaming at us; she was at the end of her proverbial tether – and we put her there. She wanted us to know; if she is not well, then we are not well.
HOW THE WORLD HEALED DURING LOCKDOWN
How amazing was it that one of the most polluted cities in India, Delhi, witnessed a massive drop (almost 44%) in its air pollution and that the nationwide lockdown revealed skylines and Himalayan mountain vistas that had been obscured for decades? China experienced a 40 percent decline in nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant produced from burning fossil fuels in cars, factories, and power plants, earlier this year compared to the same period last year. In the United Kingdom, nitrogen dioxide pollution purportedly fell 60 percent after the country implemented a lockdown compared to the year prior. The Venice canals, devoid of gondola and boat traffic, got clean water full of fish. Thailand’s beaches, which have been empty since lockdown restrictions came into place, have seen the largest increase in nests of rare sea turtles in 20 years. Wildlife in rivers and estuaries, fields and even on the urban fringe, are remerging in the absence of the human hordes and their vehicles. Animals are now wandering back into National Parks, parks where they once feared to tread due to camera-toting tourists.
Nature is reclaiming its space.
And how about this: to help citizens cope with isolation during the Covid pandemic, Iceland’s forestry service encouraged people to hug trees instead of other people. How cool is that!
HOW I WANT TO TRAVEL POST-COVID
So here are some of my thoughts on what I would LOVE to see and what I HOPE to see when we all start to travel again:
- We will travel with a greater sense of purpose, meaning & renewed curiosity
- We will look for travel that is life-enriching and values-based.
- We will look for travel experiences that go a little deeper.
- We will want to engage and connect more with local communities; an emphasis on travel that gives back.
- We will travel slower; we will spend quality time in each place, not just rush through. We will actively seek out less crowded destinations and choose to travel at quieter times of the year.
- We will search for a greater sense of calm, peacefulness, and sanctuary more than ever.
- We will switch off, go ‘off-the-beaten track’ more and natural destinations will become more important.
- There will be a rise in Wellness type travel as people realise how important and valuable good health is.
- We will want to stay in places where we can improve our mental and physical wellbeing
- We will want to feel nurtured after this difficult time and lockdowns.
- Domestic travel and exploring local areas will become important.
- More meaning will be put into the where, when, and how of travel.
- We will want to travel in smaller, more private groups
- And most importantly, we want to trust who we travel with.
Of course, an unsurprising result of the pandemic will be a continued focus on hygiene and cleanliness. We’ve all become accustomed to carrying hand sanitiser with us wherever we go, washing our hands frequently and being careful of the surfaces we touch, and this trend will definitely be sticking around for some time and affecting the way we travel.
TRAVEL WILL RESUME
Although it may take a little time, travel will bounce back, and I do believe it will benefit us all.
And one thing I am certain of; when we are ready to travel again, safely, Mai Journeys will be there with open arms. We feel blessed to have travelled where we have to date with all you amazing women, and we cannot wait to get out there again with you. And when we do, my, what a different perspective we will have.
Until then – stay safe, stay happy and stay positive!
Jemma and the Mai Journeys team…