No World for Nomadic Wanderlust

Globetrotters find themselves caged in the COVID infected world. 

Pradeep Chamaria

We are passing through the most critical moment in history. It’s not only time for prayer but also for action. The Covid-19 pandemic is creating a financial nightmare in the world unleashing a chain of devastating economic events that will change almost everything in our life.

As a travel writer/photographer, I am worried about the future of people like me. A few European countries have already announced the closing of tourism for the year 2020, signalling silent death for the Travel and Hospitality industry and adding further fuel in the already raging fires around the world that luxury Travel industry is almost going to be dead for the next year or so.

We all know that the significance of travel and hospitality industry extends beyond simply being a source of revenue: it provides substantial employment opportunities, influences regional infrastructure, supports local industry, influences freight movements, and encourages urban development among others.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 will certainly mean trying times ahead…

I’m not here to frighten you, there’s already more than enough fear in India and in the world today. Rather, I’m here to give you the facts about how this crisis will impact your travel in future and how you can use this crisis time fruitfully. We need to prepare a clear roadmap about what to do when all travel options are shut in an unsafe world.

This is urgent because this is no ordinary crisis that we are facing. It’s far bigger than anything we’ve ever experienced in our lifetime. It’s striking with far greater speed and the worst is yet to come.

Travel and Hospitality have already been hit hard in this crisis, and, this time it’s going to face an even bigger beating as this deadly virus continues to trigger waves after waves of severe economic depression in sectors like airlines, cruise operators, restaurants, hotel industry and many others.

On an optimistic note, let’s assume that this crisis will not turn out to be as bad as we fear. But, we could still be not travelling right away, and in many cases, many will lose all the travel assignments. This is scary as we are looking at bad times not just right now, but for many months to come.

For travellers like us, it’s the time to sit down and recollect our journeys of past and the shortcomings we faced during those journeys and devise ways to rectify them. Let’s concentrate and re-think our travel strategies not only to survive but to come out unhurt too.

Travelling, for me, is as inevitable as breathing. Travelling has made me what I am today, a refined intellectual person. It has helped me discover myself. It’s like spiritual healing. Almost 27 years ago, I started my career in travel journalism, and since then, I’ve travelled almost all over the world and have built a massive database of more than a million images and hundreds of features published all around the world.

And I am worried today!

Corona, or Covid-19, whatever name you give; though I will call it the Traveller’s Pandemic, has just helped us to come face to face with a crisis that began a long time ago with years of bad advice, tour operators’ manipulations, mushrooming of travel websites with centralized reservations for all – ticketing, hotels, sightseeing, years of dishonest ratings, incomplete and fraudulent information. These unfair practices have already lured millions of unhappy tourists to throw their hard-earned money to the wind.

Over the last 4-5 years I have been actively speaking about hidden methods of money extraction from tourists, non-transparency in schedules, mushrooming of fake and fraudulent websites, fake promotions on the internet via paid influencers and so on which were causing a slowdown in revenues for most B2B and B2C organizations. But almost to no avail, as every point I was raising was falling on deaf ears. It simply was a mad rush out there; tour operators minting money and online media happily enjoying the promotional vacations offered in return of reviews.

And the already crumbling industry has now been unexpectedly hit hard by the Travellers pandemic forcing it to fall flat on its face, thereby triggering an unwanted shutdown far more quickly than at any time in history.

Surely, the government will be bailing out major sectors, but travel will need more time. The government can’t bail out everyone all the time, as there will be many and if the government spends too much money to bail out everyone, who will bail out the government itself?

It is envisaged that when the dust settles, the collapse of 2020 will destroy every travellers’ dream, and in the near future for most travellers, nothing will ever be the same again.

But hang on; hopefully, this will not be the end of future…

We are capable to overcome threats that were even worse. We will ultimately overcome this threat too. Trouble is, it will take quite a few months, maybe years to do so.

And I don’t want you to suffer through this time, not even one year or one month. So, keep looking for my list of simple steps which can help you not only survive this crisis, you can actually come out ahead of the game.

Don’t worry, cheer up: when the economy is finally ready to recover, the industry will certainly need influencers like us for all kinds of information and visual matter. And only people like us can provide quality work through our personal experiences and help bring about a true, lasting recovery into travel.

Chill, take a long breath, this is just the beginning, it’s still far too soon to talk about the recovery…

And wait for my next feature with my guide – Coming up soon…

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