Stultifying tourism

By | Category: Travel rumblings

A year ago I was writing about a terrorist tragedy in Sri Lanka where over two hundred people had been killed after bombings on churches.

When might we visit attractions like the tea estates of Sri Lanka again?

I wrote that such actions were damaging to tourism and the best thing to do would be to stand up to the threats by not changing their holiday and travel plans. Support Sri Lanka by continuing to visit the country I said.

I said the same thing after attacks in France aimed at the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. The same was said after terrorism attacks in Paris and Marseilles, in Germany and in Belgium.

After the attacks in London, I preached the same; don’t let the terrorists dampen terrorism.

And people didn’t. Tourism numbers bounced back quite quickly as they did in the Caribbean after hurricanes and other natural disasters.

But a year on as Sri Lanka mourns those that died in that shaming act, another insidious form terrorism is quelling tourism. This time it is a terrorism of nature – a virus and who is to say that tourism will bounce back as quickly as it did after all those other incidents.

In fact tourism may be one of the last features of a return to normality because of the fear that reintroducing the epidemic might cause.

In Spain, as a gradual lockdown is being planned, I understand that international tourism might be the last thing to occur. In Italy, Venice is giving serious consideration to a new form of tourism; a controlled entry which might reflect the way that only a certain number of people might enter each day as happens to visitors to Machu Picchu in Peru and the Galapagos islands in Ecuador. Just as major exhibitions and some attractions have limits to the number of people allowed to enter each day, the same might apply to destinations provided that they can control entry points.

On this anniversary day, nature is achieving what human terrorism has been unable to achieve; stultifying tourism.

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