Coronavirus and Travel: the End and the Future

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of travel perhaps for ever, but there could be a greener future, argues Mark Bibby Jackson.

Opinion / Profiles

The world of travel has changed perhaps for ever. There can be no doubting the impact that the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has had on tourism. Many of the people who rely upon the industry for their livelihoods will lose their jobs, hopefully only temporarily, as both international and domestic travel is put on hold.

Coronavirus and Travel

In the UK, it is expected that the effect of the coronavirus pandemic will peak sometime in the next twelve weeks, should people adhere to government advice to avoid all but essential travel and to keep two metres away from others. The list of countries banning international arrivals is ever growing. Soon the whole world, it seems, will be in lock-down.

Hopefully international travel will resume later in the summer, or perhaps the autumn. Inevitably, restrictions on travel will still be in place even then, perhaps health screening at airports or even total bans for certain countries.

Virtual travel

where to go in march
Go on a virtual trip of the Taj Mahal

This does not mean that travel has to disappear altogether. The mental damage of living cooped up in self-isolation can be as damaging as the physical. We need an escape or at least the promise of escape.

Many tourism departments, museums and other cultural attractions are offering virtual tours via their website. One of the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic will surely be an increase in virtual tourism – Eiffel Tower on Monday, Taj Mahal on Tuesday … While we hope that this will never replace the real thing – at least in the long-term – at Travel Begins at 40 we will provide you with information on some of the virtual journeys you can make from your own home.

Planning that trip of a life time

The forthcoming months also provide us all with plenty of time to plan our next trip. Whether that is in the autumn, winter or perhaps next year, there literally is no time like the present to plan ahead. Perhaps you could even go on that trip in a lifetime and become a global nomad now that you – and your bosses – have become accustomed to your working from home.

With this in mind we will continue to post our travel articles written by our excellent team of experienced travel writers for the foreseeable future, to provide you with travel inspiration.

A new greener travel

No-Fly, Flygskam, flight-shame
Think of more green ways to travel

At the risk of sounding callous, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic also provides us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the nature of the way we travel.

Scientists have warned us for years that a global pandemic such as COVID-19 was inevitable; scientists have also warned us for decades about the impact of climate change.

Campaigns such as Flygskam (or the No Fly Movement) have challenged us to travel in a more responsible manner. The amount of plastic in our oceans has horrified many, leading to bans on the use of single-use plastic in many parts of the world.

One of the by-products of the current pandemic is a massive reduction in the amount of flights globally, although fighting over plastic bottles of water in supermarkets does not bode well for the future of our planet.

Travel will rebound from its current troubles, but let’s take this tragic opportunity to create a responsible and sustainable travel industry that provides vital livelihoods for many without damaging the planet for all.

The Fire of London, in 1666, destroyed many parts of the English capital that had been ravaged by plague the previous year. Instead of creating a new, modern city, a similar London was built on the ashes of the former one. It soon became riddled with the same diseases of the old London. Let’s not miss this opportunity. Let’s create a new and better travel industry for the benefit of all by supporting those travel companies that promote responsible and sustainable travel. We might never get a better chance.

Mark Bibby Jackson, Editor – Travel Begins at 40

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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