As we welcomed the new year at the start of 2020, nobody understood that they were ringing in a year that would change the world as we knew it. The virus entered the year stealthily and started the relentless pandemic that would change almost every life on earth. The travel and tourism industries were particularly hard hit as this infographic shows.
Closed borders, travel bans, and lockdowns meant that no one strayed very far from home. I started March with a European travel visa in hand and business class tickets booked on Turkish airlines to Spain and Belgium. Within two weeks the borders were closed, within four we were in lockdown. Countless other travelers were in a similar position – business trips called off, family celebrations ended, and dream holiday no more.
For those who had paid for cruise tickets, the story was even bleaker as many spent anxious days on ships that had become Covid-19 hotspots.
As 2020 drew to a close, there was little respite in sight for the travel industry. Amidst the happy news that several vaccines had been approved, new variants of the virus have started to appear. The new virus strains spread faster, fueling second waves of infection. Countries are beginning to close down borders once again in an effort to keep the new strains out of their populations.
As the world heralds in 2021, it is in the hope that we can once again return to a freer world that is open to travel and adventure. In the words of Tennyson “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”