I usually write posts about travels around Europe on this blog, but in current times, it almost seemed irrelevant to even talk about travels. Not only it is the first thing that got restricted during this pandemic but also it might be the last thing on anyone’s mind. COVID-19 pandemic is going to change the travel world post everything gets back to normal. Even though it might be helpful to the economy, I really doubt the travel industry will remain same as it was pre-pandemic.
I haven’t read what the travel pandits say of the world beyond the pandemic but I thought of writing a post just imagining all that can happen. These might be just my musings and might seem very obvious and/or might not have any relevance in real world, but nevertheless, I needed to write them down if not here, then where? So, here we go.
Air travel – Will it be straightforward?? We are already aware of airlines declaring bankruptcy or laying off people during these times. Post lock downs and pandemic, I would imagine flights running when essential for first few months only to capitals or major cities. Slowly they might rehire people as flights start resuming and we get confident of the COVID-19 situation. Clearly, that means traveling only for necessary reasons will be permitted for these months with solid reasons like a medical emergency or a family death or a diplomatic urgency. Even when the flights resume, their should be new protocols for everyone working within this industry. Just as anti-terrorism rules and regulations get easily adapted for safety of travelers, I hope new rules and regulations for the safety of airline workers and travelers be introduced. Be it measuring body temperature, use of hand gloves, availability of disinfectants and protective masks, regular cleaning of flights and airports with virus as the ultimate enemy. Will these added responsibilities and rules lead to reduction in the number of flights and increase in the workload , will it be affordable in long run? Change of travel ideas might be helpful, travelling with valid purpose should be heavily adopted until vaccine is available. I might sound ridiculous but can travel be reduced to only certain number of countries for each individual in future – not to reduce travels but to reduce the pandemic kind of spread.
Traveling to Europe in 2020? All leisure travels might resume, let’s say by September, then what is even left to see in Europe in months of Autumn and Winter? Oh I mean we have lost the major money making months of July and August. I dare say people from outside of European continent, might not even step in Europe for leisure travel out of fear of the remnant COVID-19 cases. How many months would Italy take to reassure tourists of their skiing resorts and beautiful beaches. Let’s assume even if southern Europe is spared of harsh winters (even though Rome has experienced unnatural snowfall in recent years), still cross continent travels from majority of Asian population cannot be expected so soon. I guess, Asian countries will benefit eventually in tourism industry during these months.
Hotels, Hostels and Restaurants? One thing I hope for sure that post pandemic there will also be change in the service industry. Like passport copies are essential to be submitted, won’t it also help to ask for last countries visited by the person before checking in. Just so that the hotel is updated if their customer arrives from a hot zone for COVID or any other virus. Not to discriminate against these customers but to be aware in case any of them show symptoms. Ahh! This sounds almost counterproductive to the very fabric of service industry. Let’s just trust that they will really keep the premises clean and disinfected to a level AVOID pandemic .
Individual responsibility? Having spoken about all these industries, I wish to remind that actually maximum responsibility will lie on us – every human being who is travelling or helping others by doing a job in any of these travel related industries. All of us, henceforth, should be aware of any flu like symptoms, pay attention to any developing situation in any part of the world as well as take personal hygiene very very seriously. We have to take care of all the possibilities and probabilities of resurgence of COVID-19 like situation.
I hope this blog post made sense. I hope we take life after pandemic a bit more cautiously and not be thankful of the life we have and keep trying to reduce the burden on healthcare industry. They have done enough , they need a break and they deserve every bit of it. Stay home and stay safe.