From Bruce Piper
“This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Those fateful words uttered by Sir Winston Churchill after a 1942 victory in Egypt while Britain was in the depths of World War II may also resonate in our industry’s ongoing battle with COVID-19.
Unless a vaccine is produced — a process which despite US President Trump’s Project Warp Speed is likely to take some years — we need to learn to live with the reality of coronavirus and that also means coming to grips with the political landscape which is clearly highly risk averse.
Whatever some people may think about the seriousness of COVID-19, the ongoing climate of fear is driving our leaders to ever more conservative approaches, and I believe the travel and tourism sector must simply accept that things will not be the same again, perhaps ever.
Lamenting the “good old days”, which ended about six months ago, does nobody any good.
We know there is huge pent-up demand for travel, and any border openings, under any type of conditions, will see a rebound, however bleak things look now.
Despite governments seemingly doing little to provide certainty for a restart, there is no doubt that much work is going on behind the scenes. And in the end we are all receiving a perhaps much-needed lesson in patience.
Travel and tourism will return and, like all disruption, COVID-19 is already driving innovation in terms of new product development alongside of course huge amounts of work on health and safety protocols.
Unfortunately, as we all know, this virus is particularly brutal on this industry that we all love so much.
As we reflect on the words of Britain’s wartime leader, I believe we can be reassured that things will improve.
It took two more years for the Allies to achieve victory in Europe — hopefully our trajectory out of COVID-19 will be much shorter.