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How Will the Fear of COVID-19 Affect Tourism in 2021 and Beyond?05-08-2021
The link between physical and mental health has become a key topic of discussion in an era of pandemics that have seriously affected many people.
Along with daily worries about the "global disease" affecting millions of people, job loss, the fascination with gambling on sites like www.playamo.com/en-CA, and minimizing social contact (to name a few), the pandemic has raised questions about whether the health, economic or mental effects of the coronavirus would be devastating.
How might these newly discovered health problems affect the travel industry after COVID-19?
The link between travel and mental health
Years before we began to understand the value of normal mental health, recreation was an important component of human happiness. According to Dr. Helena McKeown, chair of the British Medical Association's (BMA) representative body, COVID-19 was an interesting case study. When travel was banned and travel was only possible regionally, we saw how such restrictions affected our lives.
"In a more general sense, it's becoming more and more apparent that people have been planning vacations and looking forward to them," Helena says. "It's a respite and relaxation for people, and for the last 12 months we haven't been able to get that rest we need."
This, in turn, affects our motivation, productivity and overall understanding of life. What we all crave is a vacation - doctors' opinions. But because of the virus that can stay on surfaces and spread quickly from person to person, the logistics that lie between the sun-drenched beach and the COVID reality can be somewhat daunting.
Talk About Public Transportation
This has been my least favourite part of travel even through the end of 2019, let's be honest. The thought of "we won't pay for two weeks of airport parking" pushed people to use buses, trains and subways at all hours of the day and night. Lugging oversized and heavy luggage to deter even the most determined would-be thieves.
Then you find yourself in a stuffy waiting room, filled with the smell of coffee, with hundreds of other passengers. The reason everyone is sweating is simple - there are no windows in airports. Just a reminder: you've been on the road for hours and you're probably still within 25 km of your home.
And finally, the plane itself, which, while not in itself an important part of the trip, is likely to make a difference.
"Understandably, there will be some anxiety when travelling on public transportation," Helena explains. "And airplanes probably play a major role here -- the air circulation for hours and the discomfort of wearing masks for long periods of time."
Not surprisingly, tours, trips and other recreational activities may become more popular than ever after COVID-19.
Habitual Travel Behavior
The industries that tourism helps survive have been a growing concern in the past 12 months. Cultural venues, theatres, restaurants and bars, and museums, have been hit the hardest, and some have had to close for good. Those who have managed to stay afloat look forward to the day when the crowds return - but will it be like before?
According to a National Geographic article, the events of the past year have actually changed our sense of fear. Social distancing meant having to cross to the other side of the street to stay away from other people. It begs the question of whether we can return to being shoulder to shoulder with a stranger in a crowded room without fear.
While the future of being indoors remains unclear, it is likely that until we have a vaccinated majority in the world, measures such as social distancing, disinfection and wearing protective masks will remain in place.
Vaccines are Key to the Return of The Travel Industry?
Vaccines have been in the news a lot lately: the certificates, their advantages and disadvantages, and the progress made in the past few months. But vaccination programs have been slowed by public uncertainty and anxiety.
"We've recently seen vaccine rollouts stopped in some countries across the continent because of some concerns about AstraZeneca's vaccine having adverse health effects," Helena says. "It's a complicated issue because while it takes time to properly address the concerns, it means that progress has been delayed in some parts of Europe."
As for "vaccine certificates," they themselves become a trap for society, people have been isolated from family and friends for a year because of COVID-19. Requiring "vaccine passports" to travel and visit public places potentially takes away the freedom of choice for two reasons:
If you don't want to get vaccinated for health or personal reasons;
Not being vaccinated subsequently limits your freedom of movement compared to being vaccinated.
For people who have been separated by borders, especially when many countries now choose to certify vaccines in one form or another, this reinforces the sense of separation created by the "very strange year''. Beyond vacations, the dilemma is to explain how authorities can justify banning people from travelling for personal, health, and work-related reasons.
It's Okay to Worry
It is worth mentioning here that we are coming out of one of the most difficult trials over people in history. It is perfectly normal to feel that the world now feels like something more.
Going back to travel means going back to crowds, human interaction, moving together, and transportation, words that can make us cringe with discomfort right now. But it is also a return to experiences, enriching adventures, new acquaintances and uncharted lands.
The world is waiting and it's not going anywhere. Take your time, stay in your comfort zone and travel when you are ready.
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