When will we get back to normal after the lockdowns lift and social isolation only applies to when you’re hungover?
Anything you read about the state of travel – in fact the state of the world – post COVID-19 is pure speculation. Nobody knows what’s going to happen when lockdowns are lifted; nobody knows even how they will be lifted, or when. But being in the travel business we’ve had to consider the various possibilities and make plans. We’re not experts in epidemiology, but we do know the European travel business, and this is what we’re planning for (and why we’re offering €1 deposits on all our trips).
When the lockdowns first lift: limited movement around your area
Don’t expect these lockdowns to miraculously lift one day and allow you unlimited movement around the world. As soon as governments and health services feel confident that they have new infection rates slowing, and that they have the resources to identify and contain any flare ups as they may arise, lockdowns will slowly lift. At first you might be able to go to work again, if you still have a job. Bars and restaurants will likely remain closed, but parks might open up. You might be able to hike, or go to the beach. Governments will be playing a balancing act between restarting the economy and letting people get out of the house for the sake of their physical and mental health, and not wanting to rush into lifting restrictions and risking another spike in infections.
Travelling during this time will be mostly symbolic. Things that you used to take for granted will become grand acts of discovery. Take a trip to a different supermarket. Take your shoes off and walk on some grass. Sit under a tree two metres away from everybody else. Visit a friend at their house – these simple acts will make you feel like an intrepid adventurer.
When: depends on the country, obviously, but we’re thinking by late May/early June most European countries will be at this level.
If there are no new spikes in COVID-19 infections, countries will open up
The oft-arbitrary (and in Europe mostly obsolete) lines that delineate countries will define the next stage of lockdown alleviation. As bars and restaurants open in our areas, and we flood them for a bender of apocalyptic proportions, nations will open up again for trade and even travel. This will be an attempt to return to normalcy within the country, allowing families to visit again, and for workers to get back to trading freely on a national level, but as travellers it opens up amazing opportunities also. While many of us are looking abroad for our travels, these restrictions might force us to seek out opportunities closer to home. As soon as governments are confident that infections rates are at a manageable level, regional and rural destinations – as well as city hotels and experience providers – will be desperate to welcome out-of-towners. This will be a great chance to explore regions that have always been on your radar, but perhaps put on the back burner because flights abroad are cheaper and the lure of the exotic more appealing, or to start doing your research NOW and discovering new regions, towns, attractions, and experiences that are accessible without leaving the country’s borders.
This is the stage that Stoke Travel is looking forward to. Our Surf House in the hills behind San Sebastian is the perfect place for Spanish residents to explore a beautiful village in the mountains, as well as the bustling cosmopolitan and gastronomic hotspot that is San Sebastian, get to know the unique and stunning Basque Country, and to obviously spend plenty of time in the sun, on the sand and amongst the waves learning how to surf.
Similarly, we’ll be opening up our Barcelona Boat Parties for people in Barcelona, or visiting Barcelona, who are in dire need for a bit of a party and some fresh air – which will be absolutely everybody. Both the Surf House and Barcelona Boat Parties will remain open as we move through the next stages.
When: a couple of weeks after the first stage, so long as there aren’t any new spikes in infections. Start planning for this stage now, with €1 bookings on both the San Sebastian Surf Camp and Barcelona Boat Parties.
As we start to see COVID-19 infections plateau around the world
Europe will open up for business again. One of the main principles of the European Union is the free movement of people and goods between member states. EU leaders will be keen on getting the project back on track as soon as is reasonably possible. Budget airlines will start rebuilding their itineraries, offering cheap flights with flexible fares across Europe and travel agencies and tour operators and accommodation providers will be desperate to get some business again.
We’re expecting this to be around the time our Spanish festival season kicks off (San Vino The Wine Fight, San Fermin in Pamplona and La Tomatina in Valencia), and we can guarantee that when these events happen this year, they will go off in a hedonistic manner never before seen. We’re actually scared that, despite being absolute party monsters, we might not be prepared for the onslaught. San Sebastian Surf and Barcelona Boats should be busy through this period too, as travellers from around Europe seek some Spanish sun.
When: soon after domestic travel opens up, Europe will open up too. There may be restrictions from countries that haven’t properly contained their cases. This is a phase you should definitely start planning for now, with €1 bookings across all Stoke Travel products.
And then the world will start to get back to normal
Once leaders are confident that they can keep on top of identifying and tracing new infections the world will slowly begin to open up again. Travel restrictions will be lifted for people coming from countries that have infection rates under control, and tourism will slowly begin to pick up as the world moves back towards its pre-coronavirus state. Temperature taking measures in some airports will remain for the foreseeable future and people might be expected to travel with masks, but a world where people can move around for business and leisure is one that the global economy relies on, so getting back to that situation as soon as possible is desirable to leaders and businesses. This won’t happen in a cavalier fashion, but what we can use as a guide is the manner by which the travel restrictions began before the whole world locked up. Travellers from areas that we’re seeing high levels of infections and likely unfettered transmissions were specifically banned from entering certain countries. The comedown from this will be the similar to that, perhaps with more caution due to coronavirus lessons that were learnt too late, but the blanket travel bans will lift eventually and the world will start travelling again, and while we may be more cautious with our personal hygiene, eventually we’ll be travelling around the world again and everything will be back to normal – or as close to normal as it can be in the post COVID-19 world.
We are very confident that Oktoberfest will be going ahead in the post-COVID world, so much so that we’re offering all doctors, nurses and healthcare workers free Oktoberfest trips, and obviously for the rest of you who will need a beer and want to party alongside the heroes of this virus we’re offering €1 deposits until the world makes sense again.
The post What Will Travelling Be Like In A Post Coronavirus Lockdown World? appeared first on Stoke Travel.