Sure, we’re worried about coronavirus. We’re in the travel business, and for the most part people travelling is what’s edging the world toward pandemic status. And this affects us, because while we don’t have events in any of the affected regions, when the shit hits the fan like this people’s plans can change, and they can find themselves feeling less confident about moving around the world, seeing the sights, meeting new people, enjoying themselves, and learning.
As coronavirus spreads through Europe we’re noticing that some travellers are reconsidering their plans to party with us. We think that you should reconsider reconsidering.
Epidemics aren’t new. We started this company just as SARS was petering off, and operated without incident during swine flu. What is different this time around is the rate by which coronavirus is spreading, and the media saturation that the crisis is causing.
People are being led into a panic, and seem to be expatriating themselves to bunker down at home. Rice and hand sanitiser are impossible to find in supermarkets in areas barely affected by the virus, if at all. The more conspiracy minded amongst us are bracing for the apocalypse, while hypochondriacs avoid all human contact for fear of death. The rest of us are more worried about running out of Netflix shows to watch if we’re forced into a two week quarantine.
As a tour operator and travel agent, for Stoke Travel it’s business as usual. We rely on advice from experts and health professionals and government agencies at a local and international level. Based on their recommendations at writing none of our upcoming events, tours or trips will need to cancelled, or even modified, nor does it look likely that they will be.
As far as the Stoke Travel calendar is concerned, our upcoming trips to Munich’s Springfest, Ibiza Spring Break, Andorra Ski, and the various Barcelona Boat Parties are all going ahead, and will be until local or national government advice recommends the contrary.
At the time of writing this, the coronavirus has affected zero people in Munich, and 0.00015% of Germans across the country, with no deaths. Similarly in Ibiza and Andorra, there are no confirmed cases, and in Spain 0.0002% of the population have been infected.
The coronavirus concerns us, but we most certainly aren’t freaking out.
Furthermore, the vast majority of Stoke Travel guests are well outside of the danger zone for this particular influenza strain, with people between 18-40 years of age having a 0.2% chance of dying in the off chance they contract coronavirus, as opposed to a 15% chance for people over 80. While we do advise being prudent with your virus prevention so that we can better safeguard more “at risk” members of our community, at this stage we don’t see this being a great threat to the average Stoke traveller.
Coronavirus is popping up in new countries and regions every day. It can find you wherever you are, and as the disease moves around the world being at home will be just as risky as travelling. We don’t see the point in denying ourselves the endless delights of pursuing pleasure around the world and living a travelling life full of new experiences as long as the coronavirus doesn’t present a real and tangible threat to our wellbeing.
Stoke Travel operated without incident through the H1N1 epidemic (swine flu), and in the wake of other events that created concern among travellers, such as terrorist attacks in Germany, France and here in our home in Barcelona. We always weigh up the risks, but do so knowing that we can’t let unrealistic fears and media panics negatively affect our overwhelming need to live a life full of experiences and meeting new people.
This will pass, so we strongly advise that you continue living your life as you were before you even heard of the coronavirus, but always be prudent with the advice of local governments and international authorities on health, like the World Health Organisation. We will not be cancelling our events unless we’re advised to do so, and our terms and conditions regarding cancellations and refunds will remain as is throughout this developing situation.
Stay safe, but don’t do so at the expense of living your best travelling lives. Wash your hands, cough into your elbow, don’t kiss strangers with high fevers, and keep travelling the world, going out at night, partying, attending concerts and enjoying yourself. As warmer weather approaches and governments and health professionals work to contain the outbreak, soon the coronavirus will be relegated to history and we’ll wonder why we were so worried at all.