Forgive me if I’m a tad reluctant to shout from the rooftop *”Thank God we’re bidding farewell to 2021 and I look forward to what 2022 has to offer”*
I seem to recall a similar sentiment at the end of December 2020 and like many – wasn’t overly impressed with what 2021 served up.
That the travel and tourism industry is broken is a given.
What’s less certain is the extent of the damage.
Certainly the hopes of travellers, airlines, tour operators, hoteliers and cruise lines is that 2022 can begin to clear the extensive debris off the path forward.
But folks – there’s a pile of debris currently littering the path.
Omicron has unquestionably made a bad situation worse.
And while most authoritative opinions will point out that as explosive as it’s transmissibility is, healthy vaccinated individuals are far less likely to succumb to serious consequences as they were in the early days of “sans-vaccine” Covid variants.
But even mild reactions are playing havoc with staffing issues and thus far, nowhere is that more evident than in the area of airline schedules.
It’s not just those passengers who days before flight departure either test positive or fall prey to the jitters that result in their cancelling well laid plans, but airline and airport employees who become Omicronerous and are unable to show up for work.
Sure – it manifests itself as a mild cold in most cases but remember, even a mild cold will legally prevent flight crew from handling a flight due to complications of pressurized aircraft vs inner ear canals.
The last thing you want in-flight is a vertigo attack up in the pointy end of the aircraft.
Of course this whole nightmare of cancelled flights has given rise to a host of self appointed Champions of the Rights of Airline Passengers who are adamant that delays, schedule changes and flight cancellations are all a result of mismanagement by the airlines and as such penalties and payouts to the passenger be automatic should the passenger be inconvenienced in any way shape or form.
“Take them to small claims court” has become the rallying cry of these non profit “for the people” self appointed messiahs although they readily accept donations in exchange for said sage advice.
I’ve yet to be made aware of a judge that in fact concurs that Covid is well within the airlines’ control.
Any more than an automobile manufacturer can be deemed responsible should a driver elect to head out despite warnings of weather related highway closures should he/she get stranded for hours in the midst of said road closure.
At some point we’ll emerge from this global nightmare.
At which point, similar to assessing the damage from a Category 5 hurricane, repair and rebuilding can begin.
Many players in the travel & tourism sector unfortunately will not be around once the dust settles – two to three years without meaningful revenue is unfathomable for any industry.
Those that remain will certainly have a daunting task on their plate, much of which will focus on the rebuilding of consumer confidence.
Not easy when the constant media barrage cries “the sky is falling” at the 1st appearance of rain showers.
Nor when the gurus of governmental authority change the rules midstream leaving mere mortals with the impression that there are more waffles in Ottawa than at the International House of Pancakes.
But rebuild we will.
And as we do it will be a better, stronger and more confident product that once again sees a path forward to satisfy the needs of those who are ready to explore the world that lies beyond our 4 walls that have held us captive since March of 2020.
The human race is constantly in a knowledge seeking mode and nowhere is that more evident than in the spirit of travellers who pine to know what lies beyond their 4 walls .
And there’s no industry in the world more resilient than our cherished travel & tourism industry that has bounced back from catastrophic incidents year after year after year.
The world will open up again – perhaps not next week or even next month – but 2022 *will* be the year of recovery.
I won’t head to the rooftop just yet – but I am getting the ladder ready.
Stay Positive – Test Negative, and I wish you all the best for the year to come.
Adios until next time.