As much as I would love to start counting down the days until my next flight, until the next boarding of our guests, until the next hosting of our curated journeys, I think we’d be better served by mutually acknowledging our shared feelings at the moment. This is an incredibly exhausting, uncomfortable, and for many, a somber moment in time.
In the past few months, I’ve heard from so many about canceled vacations, anniversaries, and honeymoons. We have had our fair share of postponed journeys, not just once – as we thought this would be over in a matter of weeks -but twice, thrice. As a tourism industry leader, it has been devastating to see how many travelers around the USA and worldwide had planned these amazing trips for 2020, only to have to spend an incredible amount of time canceling their arrangements, not even knowing when to reschedule these for. So, yes, We Get It!
While all of this is happening, we have also witnessed a tremendous amount of community support for their favorite bars, restaurants, groomer, grocery store, and neighbors. Many of you made sure you kept on ordering while stuck at home, others bought gift certificates to be used in the future. That sort of generosity and community support is exactly why there are no doubts in my mind that we will come out OK on the other side.
In that same process, many asked us how they could help people in the tourism industry. That answer is a bit more complicated than buying a gift certificate or ordering a take-away. The travel and tourism industry is certain to generate billions of dollars for economies around the world, more importantly, it is the lifeline for many communities in every country. One may think of the bed and breakfast in the heart of Tuscany, or the Mom and Pop artisan in the heart of Cappadocia. Yet, before your money gets to them, it has to start with a reservation, the building of an itinerary, and a package. And that is done by your travel professional, your tour operator, or your online booking facilitator. Without them, there can’t be trickle-down economics to harder hit communities around the world, but also here at home.
And if the resumption of travel remains an unknown, how can one support the tourism industry at large, and all the small proprietors it, in turn, utilizes for the execution of your travel plans?
Below are a few thoughts on how you can help your travel professionals.
These may not be the complete answer to this complex chain that tourism and travel can be, but they are a start.
At the very least, to keep people employed here at home, and to keep small businesses afloat while this storm passes.