Tuesday, 24 March 2020

'I'm Being Hopeful - This Won't Be The End': Coronavirus & Its Effects On Global Travel

By Waiching 

The Coronavirus has derailed so many people's travel plans this year; the then-unknown virus, COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, mainland China, shifted its way to the city of Hong Kong (and later there was an upsurge in incidents and fear towards people of Chinese origin, fuelled by xenophobia and racism), & then onwards overseas when during the last month, things became so severe and serious with deaths spiking every single day across the UK, Iran, Italy and Spain - with the latter two dominating the headlines with the most recorded deaths -, followed by France, the US, Canada, Germany, India. Things became so heated when supermarkets saw their shelves emptied with selfish panic-buyers irrationally buying endless quantities of milk, eggs, toilet roll to name in bulk.   

Unlike SARS in 2003, Coronavirus's impact isn't regional or local, but global, so much so the WHO (World Health Organisation) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. COVID-19 has been unprecedented - yet abrupt the way it has exploded, it is alarming to see the rates increase and confirmed in every single nation, every continent that, but for Antarctica, there is nowhere in the world, right now, where it is deemed safe. Think about the array of nationalities of your fellow co-workers as represented at your organisation/company: be it French, British, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Indian, American or whichever part of the globe they hail from; their very own people have been largely affected and impacted by the Coronavirus. 

Not only has it taken so many lives, but it also poses a major threat to the travel and tourism industry and affecting both its passengers and staff.

9/11 of 2001 was spurred on by fear, and here it seems the fear of being infected and transmitting Coronavirus onto others, is also what is driving so many people to cancel their flights or to put them on hold. It is frustrating to see that this virus is taking a hold on so many lives, but also causing people to stop travelling; the biggest concern is getting the virus - and yet they and we are having to self-quarantine and of who are not permitted to leave the country, - which is understandable as COVID-19 as it is known, can be passed on and spread from one individual to another. Other issues are that global and important events (such as the Tokyo Olympic Games and Euro 2020) have either been cancelled or rescheduled to a later date or be it next year. 

At this moment, the major and smaller airlines are struggling financially with flights grounded to a halt that without that money from the government and passengers, key workers will lose their jobs and companies will effectively go bust. Fewer people are content to travel, in case they get Coronavirus and become gravely ill. The travel and tourism industry is facing its biggest and toughest challenge to date with the lockdown, flight bans and cancellations wrecking havoc, the repercussions are far greater now than say 9/11, given as 9/11 was arguably a domestic crisis, whereas, with the Coronavirus, this is and has become a serious worldwide issue. Companies have considerable funds to run their businesses, but with the way things are going, they are incurring huge financial losses: hotels are not taking bookings, flights are not running, everything is closing down. The knock-on effects have been overwhelming. 

do think, however, that, like with SARS, COVID-19 will not last beyond say Sept of this year, and I'm hopeful it doesn't get to that stage. The current lockdown that has been implemented in Italy, Spain, UK and other parts across the globe has been used to curb the spread of Coronavirus and to help safeguard people - but this comes at a cost as they are confined to their own borders and homes and only leaving their houses to buy essential food or travel to work when working from home isn't feasible. Countries have closed their borders and with that, travellers can't and are unable to leave the country, until they have completed their quarantine phase. 

I realise, of course, that these are tough times right now. This would have been a good time for me to take time off work and go on vacation for a couple of days or weeks; that and visits to New York and Malaga in Spain were on the horizon. But that is delayed until later on in 2020, or be it 2021. I, and millions of other people, want this horrible and catastrophic crisis to come to a complete end with a vaccine, which - even with the handwashing, sanitising and social distancing measures - will be the best and only permanent resolution to this disaster, so we can resume our daily lives, as well as fulfil our plans in visiting our desired destinations that we have set our sights on and doing so without the fear of death looming over our heads through an invisible disease.

When we feel like we are stuck in a rut, yearn for something that excites, appeals to us that is different, or crave new experiences, by travelling, this is the ideal way to test yourself and to discover and find out about things, people, places that you know and never knew beforehand. That, and you'll develop a sense of appreciation and satisfaction of your skills, as well as the culture you have immersed yourself in. Which is why the likelihood of the idea that we will not only be able to fulfil this for the foreseeable future, whilst this can be a worry for many, this is not the absolute end. 

Yes, this is a sad state of affairs at the moment, yet as bad as it is, I am not giving up hope that the Coronavirus will be all over, be it this year or next. Whilst this came out of the blue and became a shock to everyone, this isn't the first time the travel industry and travellers have experienced a global crisis as severe as this; and as proven with 9/11 and its aftereffects, the world of travel has managed to bounce back, and coming back stronger and more resilient than ever. & I see the same thing happening with COVID-19. Don't let something like this put you off from flying or travelling permanently. I know I am not. 

& when it is all over, I and so many millions of travellers can celebrate and smile on the inside, knowing I am and will be able to travel and see the world, again. 

Once we (and we will) come out of this, the world will be changed forever in ways of which we can and cannot truly fathom. & yet, there will be a greater demand and urge for lots of people to go on holiday, be it overseas or locally, and to make up for loss time, as a result of this pandemic. Everybody is going to need a break and seeking to get out of their homes and of the country or be it travel locally and within.

& quite frankly, given what has happened in the news and right now, we very much deserve one. 

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