#travel #flightsale #COVID-19 #postCOVIDtravel #openborders #
Many industries were affected as a result of COVID, with lockdowns and border closures ongoing but travel and tourism were decimated.
Like a complicated machine, travel and tourism relies on multiple sectors, all working in unison to create the ultimate experience. Without flights, there’s no people. With no people, hotels lie empty. With hotels unfilled; restaurants, attractions, and events dry up.
Unfortunately, (in Australia at least) tourism is seen as a luxury rather than a necessity and so the industry has not received the same level of government support that other industries have seen.
However what is also being neglected is the millions of people, who’s livelihoods depend on tourism who’s jobs have disappeared. I’m sure there’s some I’ve missed but an example of the huge number of jobs that tourism includes:
- Aviation – pilots, flight attendants, cabin cleaners, aircraft maintenance, ground staff and baggage handlers, Airport check-in staff, Border and biosecurity, sales staff, ticketing, accounting, customer support
- Accommodation – hotel receptionists, managers, house keepers, chefs, event managers, marketing, groundskeeping, gardeners, valet, food and beverage, accountants
- Attractions – ticketing, ride attendants, animal keepers, marketing, retail, restaurant staff, museum attendants, security
- Theatre and Concerts – Customer service, ushers, bar tenders, retail, actors, musicians, singers
- Tours – drivers, guides, ticketing and customer support, marketing and creative, accounts, product
- Transport – transfers, ride-share and taxis, busses and trains, rental cars, bike hire, kayak and boat hire, petrol stations
- Local – Buskers, artists, musicians, photographers
- Food and Beverage – chefs, wait staff, baristas, bar tenders, cleaners, vendors, managers
- Suppliers – farmers, factory staff, shipping
If you’re a data person and like graphs, then you’ll love this page on the IATA website. For everyone else, you can listen to a song about a lonely cactus.
Now think of every city that tourists visit…
Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Perth, Denpasar, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Sapa, Manila, Cebu, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto,
Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York…
I’m sure you get the idea.
Whilst open borders are still a long way off, there’s plenty you can do, to help your local tourism industry recover from the worst disaster it has ever seen.
To maximise the impact your spending has, where possible choose local. When you spend with locals, your income supports other local businesses. When you spend with international corporations, your money ultimately goes to share holders in the form of dividends and CEO bonuses.
Take a micro-trip
When you can’t travel, the next best thing is a micro-trip. Visit suburbs where different ethnicities congregate or even just find an authentic foreign restaurant such as Lebanese, Afghani or Vietnamese. You may not be able to physically travel but you can take a trip with your tastebuds.
Visit an Indian, or a Filipino or an Asian grocer. They often have local newspapers with community events aimed at supporting expats, which is a great opportunity to immerse yourself amongst different cultures. There’s often small museums, clubs or social events which are only mentioned in select Facebook groups or in locally produced newspapers.
Even if you’re in lockdown, you can take a cooking class with someone on the other side of the world.
Go on a Weekend Road Trip
Instead of flying, (which is still limited to millions of people), go for a road trip. Hire a car so you can enjoy the trip in comfort. Get US$100 off any car rental worldwide with Qeeq with a price-beat guarantee. When you drive instead of flying, you encounter sights you would often miss. Those little brown signs indicating a tourist attraction or a nice view.
When you stay local, you eat local, buy souvenirs locally and help create local jobs.
Another benefit of going on a local road trip is when you come back, you tell your friends and family, they get excited about it, but unlike your jungle expedition in Vietnam or train hopping across Europe, a local road trip is feasible for almost anyone.
Here’s how to plan the ultimate weekend road trip:
- Block the weekend out, make no other plans
- Hire a car or ensure yours will make it there and back
- Search Google or Apple maps how far you can drive in 2 hours/4hours/6hours
- Make sure there’s accommodation available – nothing worse than arriving to find everything is booked out
- Make several playlists – singalong, quiet, or love songs
- Snacks, lots of snacks and drinks
- Think comfort – pillows, blankets, slippers all help to make the road trip memorable for your guests. Don’t forget toilet paper, hand wipes and sanitiser gel.
Ultimate weekend road trip continued…
No one likes eye-spy, horse or punch buggy. Instead focus on memorable songs, tell stories or keep a lookout for places to stop at – whether it’s a pie shop, a cute secondhand bookshop, or an unmarked lookout, free from crowds.
Places like New Zealand are awesome for road trips because driving distances are short, roads are often empty of other cars and there’s generally lots of accommodation choices.
However, my dream is to do a cross-country road trip of the USA or something like Dan, who drove the entire circumference of Africa! Baby steps.
What is your local government doing to support tourism?
In NSW, the local government gave out FREE $100 vouchers (made of 4 x $25 vouchers) to use at restaurants and attractions with the state to help boost tourism. In South Australia, the government issued free $100 accommodation vouchers to encourage intrastate travellers. Plus nationally, the Federal Australian government subsidised domestic flights to key tourism areas meaning travellers could save 50% off the cost of the flight ticket.
Have you written to your local MP asking them to support your local tourism industry?
Don’t forget artists
A lot of local artists sell souvenirs to tourists. Buy something local and send it to a friend overseas. It will not only support local artists but also inspire your friends to visit you once borders are open.
Sure it’s tough, but small gestures go a long way.
Where you can, help out your local tourism industry.
Next up, saving the world. We can start by creating a tourism fund to help less fortunate locals to support their tourism industry (think helping Balinese locals dining out, Filipino’s taking snorkelling tours in Cebu, Cambodians visiting Angkor Wat).
Even if it means funding vaccines in key tourism areas to begin with. Whatever it takes to help tourism get back on its feet and providing jobs for billions of people, worldwide.
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