IS EVERY COUNTRY MORPHING INTO ITS OWN INSULAR ISLAND?
As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to spread unabatedley and many countries impose restrictions on its citizens the tendency to stay put whether enforced or by choice is a growing trend. The Travel Industry has been decimated and many airlines have gone bankrupt with many struggling to stay afloat amid the declining demand.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
Some countries including Australia and New Zealand have imposed strong measures to halt the spread of Coronavirus. Australian citizens, permanent residents and only those that are strictly exempt are allowed to enter the country and only allowed to leave under a very stringent review process. Those that return must head straight from the Airport to a controlled hotel destination for two weeks of mandatory quarantine. Numerous Countries all over the world have implemented similar or restricted access. To travel in these times is an unmitigated risk. Rules and regulations for each country can change rapidly leaving the most ardent travellers loath to leave their lounge rooms in the face of catching the virus, the imposition of an inconvenient quarantine or having their flight cancelled amongst other bothersome possibilities.
THE TEDIOUSNESS OF AIR TRAVEL
Air Travel before the Coronavirus was already evolving into a mostly cumbersome experience. Security checks, the removal of clothing and shoes plus the disposal of liquids before flights were however accepted (sometimes grudgingly ) to reach our desired destinations, however the advent of Coronavirus has pushed the list of processes before and after boarding to another level. Temperature checks, waiting in line at many airports for a Coronavirus test and registering online before flights has added to the list of requirements in order to fly. Masks must be worn on flights which after a few hours in the air can be taxing on some and make longer journeys already a challenge even more arduous.
THE CURRENT UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING TRAVEL IN GENERAL
With all the uncertainty and ever changing specifications many people are choosing to stay close to home in their own country which is generally encouraged by Governments at the moment in a stem to control the spread of the virus. The restrictions of travel and possible adverse outcomes including health and financial are detering the wanderlust in the majority of individuals. The question is will these trends continue and if so for how long? How badly will the travel industry be affected by the mass exodus of tourism that millions depend on for their livelihood? Are we now adapting the adage that ‘there is no place like home’ as a mantra of security in these uncertain times?
HAVE OUR VIEWS ON TRAVEL BEEN ALTERED INDEFINITELY?
Has our country of residence become our island by choice, regime or by the insidious spread of anxiety related to the Coronavirus Pandemic? Are we all becoming Agoraphobic in the face of this hellacious predicament? What are the implications of this new way of viewing the world? And will these feelings of apprehensiveness abate or will this new way of thinking to avoid possible complications stay with us and change the way we view travel forever?
It is true that some people will always travel no matter what the risk or perceived hassle but for travel to become viable again the majority of people will need to accept the new norms of flying and the associated requirements and possible risks associated with it.
Our countries where the vast majority have endured harsh lockdowns and restrictions sometimes more than once for long periods at a time have emerged as a place we know and feel secure in. To travel outside of them is to bravely enter a new domain where we need to emerge from a perceived comfort zone which feels if not perfect at least familiar.
The Coronavirus has affected lives to a huge degree and its various negative consequences including hundreds of thousands of deaths and huge financial deficits will take generations to heal. Overseas travel is the last thing on many people’s minds at the moment. The comfort and gratitude of home in essence is not a bad analogy. At a time when everything seems uncertain the idea of a country as an island where a population all bands together to subdue the spread of the Coronavirus is a popular stance and only time will tell if this becomes a permanent trend or a huge speed bump before we yet again embrace travel to other lands with exuberance and a renewed sense of faith.