Today is World Tourism Day

By | Category: Travel rumblings

As another Wold Tourism Day is celebrated the obvious question to ask is whether it is worth celebrating at all?

Image of West Lake
West Lake in Hangzhou. In China, domestic tourism has quickly bounced back but there isn’t a lot of international tourism. Image © Hangzhou Tourism Commission

It has been a pretty disastrous year for international tourism but reasonable if not good for domestic tourism.

 Individual countries in Europe such as Germany and the UK have had good year. Countries like the USA and Australia which have had a federal structure have been handicapped by some states being locked down and refusing to allow people from adjacent or other states to enter the territory. Queensland in Australia is still miserly about allowing the residents of all other states to enter.

Usually this day is seen as one where the industry shows how important it is to economies and the world as a whole.

That importance is underpinned this year by the severe drubbing the industry has taken from the pandemic and the reactions of countries to the virus.

The international aviation industry has just about ceased to function (IATA estimated 92% of planned flights didn’t fly last month) whereas domestic flights in the Far East has just about recovered.

Although TUI – the largest tour operator in Europe – moved about 1.4 million people over the summer period, that was from throughout all of Europe.

There have been many redundancies at tour operators and travel agents, airlines and hotels. Each week it seems another tour operator goes bust, nineteen boded companies having gone down since the pandemic hit the UK in March.

No-one quite knows how many jobs in the UK have been lost but it is north of 40,000.

Whilst other industries have resumed business international travel is still dogged by governments around the world freewheeling as they try to handle the pandemic.

At the World Airline Festival this week hardly anyone thought the travel would return to how we once knew it. It would be changed for ever and international travel might not return to 2019 levels until 2022 or 2023.

This year there seems to be no reason to celebrate travel, just to remember how it was and the many people who have lost their jobs.

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