I love to travel and as a family, it is a big part of our lifestyle. Since George entered this world in November 2018, together we have travelled extensively around the world and, have an ever growing travel bucket list. Like many others, our travel plans were cancelled due to Covid_19 and we are left with uncertainty.
It’s incredibly sad to hear of established airlines going bust. We tune in to watch the news, to learn of more airline staff losing their jobs. Cafes, restaurants and museums closing their doors, possibly forever. Countries that rely heavily on tourism to prop up, an already unstable economy, report death tolls and fear they will not recover from this deadly virus.
Famous landmarks have currently closed to members of the public and staff sent home, for the foreseeable future.
Yet, as we begin to discuss and navigate how to emerge from the lock down, I can’t help but think about how different travelling will be in the future. I worry about for all those families, whose livelihoods came from tourism. All this talk of maintaining social distancing in schools and work places, the idea of wearing face masks and gloves on public transport…how will this transcend into the world of tourism?
The biggest queues I’ve experienced were for the Colosseum in Rome. Despite the fact that we had purchased out tickets online beforehand and, paid extra for the skip the queue version, we were in line for just under an hour. We were one of thousands, waiting patiently to walk in the footsteps of legends. All around the world, thousands of tourists but tickets and wait in line to glimpse or learn more about cultures, buildings of figures that have shaped our identity. That desire will not have been suppressed during this epidemic. I believe it may have actually increased.
Take away people’s freedom and they will desire it above all else.
So how might they introduce social distance measurements to famous landmarks? When I was pregnant, we visited Kensington Palace to see Diana’s dress collection (it was amazing and I highly recommend it if they display them again). When selecting your tickets online, you chose a time slot and your tickets were to be redeemed for that slot only. No negotiating or refunds. It was the same procedure for our tour of Parliament, Westminster and the Vatican in Rome.
But I can’t see how they would be able to maintain social distancing once inside the venue…maybe something similar to the supermarkets where you follow the arrows?! Or following a guide around the place (with social distancing) to prevent anyone from staying in one spot for too long.
I think about these things because I can’t wait to return to travelling. We’ve been planning our next adventure for some time now, and we’re stuck in limbo. All these incredible attractions around the world, need tourists to visit to pay for their upkeep and maintenance. I fear that some may fall into disrepair and then our children may not be able to witness them in all their glory.
And they are glorious.
I can’t wait to see George’s face when we take him Angkor Wat to run around the ruins in the jungle. Or walk around Julius Caesar’s private gardens or ask why the tower of Pisa isn’t straight! So many places and things to see in the world, and it’s sad that millions of people have had trips and holidays cancelled.
Obviously, there are more pressing matters at end, aka finding a cure for the covid_19 virus but, it is a conversation that needs to happen and a solution that needs to be found eventually. Especially for countries that rely heavily on tourism, like Italy, who has been hit the hardest but this pandemic.
To maintain social distancing on planes will be near to impossible. Prices at time are already sky high (sorry for the pun) and I personally believe that that put a lot of people off travelling, as they deem it too expensive. Now you imagine if those aircrafts have to fly with less than half capacity in terms of passengers, prices really will be too high for average people to afford.
Hopefully, the travel industry isn’t forgotten in this crisis and that together, the travel community will create a solution to the set of complicated problems that this virus has created.