Travel puts the brakes on but will get back on the rails

Life hits a temporary roadblock

The desire to travel is eternal but today's travel and tourism industries are, for now, in trouble.

Both are suspended due to the obvious and, perhaps needless to say, coronavirus pandemic. Their sudden demise due to this global sickness has also brought in its wake recessions, bankruptcies, shut-downs and deaths. Aftermaths will follow as the travel industry is forced to acknowledge today’s concerns, such as environmental and medical problems, while overcoming the short term with a recovery package before it is business as usual once again.

In Hungary travel and tourism are highly beneficial to the economy and to other sectors, such as agriculture, catering and further spin-offs. Festivals, museums, books, wine, souvenir shops and more help overcome poverty.

Beyond economic roles, travel conveys cultural messages and promotes greater international relations. But before resuming all else, coronavirus must be eliminated. For the moment, face masks and social distancing are a common sight and will remain so until further notice.

As well as other precarious shake-ups relating to governments, jobs, schools, hospitals and supermarkets, it’s worth noting the environmental reset, as cited everywhere. Everyone is benefitting and perhaps finally reflecting on the new-found pleasures of less congestion and cleaner air. So in addition to any new protocol may I suggest, in this “tourist redundant” period, a big hands-on global clear-up?

This “alternative holiday” has been achieved in the Faroe Islands. Last year, the authorities temporarily suspended tourism and called in a revolutionary volunteer task force to sort out the place. This campaign was a great success and it should apply elsewhere too. See https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-48207977/foreign-voluntourists-clean-up-faroe-islands.

Although tough but commendable actions have taken place everywhere, it’s clear this curse will not go away soon. No one should forget the doctors, nurses and police on the front line. This May, governmental consent allowed some re-openings. Further revaluations will continue with caution.

Unfortunately, this crisis will be a longer one for travellers and tourists. There will be future resentments with some potential passengers until the matter has passed. Negotiations must succeed or else there may not be cities and exotic islands to visit for some considerable time.

But solutions will be found. All land borders will reopen to independent travellers, albeit with new procedures such as providing an official certified proof that one is disease-free. But regardless of future prescripts, it is still in ourselves to travel. A glorious return it will be.

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