As I’ve alluded to throughout this entire difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ascertain what we may have learned from it. Not only have we learned that business can be conducted in different ways but also that many of us prefer to do business face to face – or mask to mask – as we are currently required to do.
We have also learned about resilience and the determination to bounce back, but conversely, the strength that enables us to do so is derived from flexibility just like the majestic palm tree that bows to the wind to prevent it being uprooted in a storm.
We have learned that when the chips are down it is better to focus on what we can do about rebuilding, as opposed to simply throwing in the towel. The travel industry, having taken a severe beating, has learned that we need to rebuild within our own backyard as, after all, this was our only option for a while, and for a while longer will still be our best one.
A little whimsy
I’m pretty pleased to say however in spite of all the lessons we may have had to learn about taking a beating and fighting back, one thing is abundantly clear – we have been reminded of the magic of travel!
The moment we were entitled to venture out, even be it a short camping trip with the family on the Heritage Day long weekend, we were out in droves – our wanderlust beckoning us to go again to experience the joy of the great outdoors, seeking new sights and enjoying new experiences.
I am so proud of our nation. We immediately supported our local tourism assisting the travel industry to rebuild from the inside, whilst we still wait for international travel to re-open sufficiently. The longer we are not seen by most as a high-risk destination the sooner this will happen and we can begin to rebuild our inbound travel business as well.
The joy of travel
It was with great joy that I read a National Geographic piece on ‘why travel should be considered an essential human activity’ and was particularly drawn to a phrase that said: “there is almost as much excitement in planning a trip, as there is to undertaking one.”
How true that is and how true too that travel will always be one of the great joys of our lives. It is something that everyone can do, even if on a small scale, and that everyone longs to do, if not immediately, then by planning something exciting for the future. Isn’t life, after all, a serious of the things we are looking forward to?
Never let the wanderlust die
Christopher Ryan in his book Civilized to Death said: “For most of the time our species has existed we’ve lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers moving about in small bands of 150 people or fewer. This nomadic life was no accident. It was useful.”
So travel is a part of our DNA – it’s in our blood and the urge to learn from and experience new cultures and exotic experiences is one that will never leave us. Even when it comes down to business if you wish to trade with someone in a foreign country you need to experience their culture and understand their wants and needs to successfully market your product or service.
We are all entitled to that bucket list travel experience we have always dreamed about – and whatever virus may try to inhibit our actions and our immediate plans it can never inhibit our dreams and plan for the future.
Phase by phase we are facing and defeating the pandemic that nearly defeated us – now let’s resume being the people we truly are – those who never tire of the magic of travel.LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER