Dhe EU external border: tight for tourists. The German passport, which normally opens doors all over the world, does not even allow people to cross the border with Poland or Austria. A Chancellor who forbids vacation without batting an eyelid. Schleswig-Holstein, which blocks all islands overnight and imposes a complete entry ban on tourists.
The Federal Foreign Office, which generally warns against unnecessary tourist trips abroad, as if the whole world was a war zone like Afghanistan or Syria. Not to forget the many planes that remain completely on the ground and the cruise ships that are mothballed worldwide, provided they still find a port to moor somewhere.
What has been happening around the world in the past few days, a quasi-global travel and entry ban from Morocco via Mongolia to the Marshall Islands, is unprecedented in human history.
The good mood travel industry, spoiled by success, has been particularly hard hit: While 1.5 billion holidaymakers were traveling around the world in 2019, this number will plummet in 2020.
Tourism slumped all over the world
To understand the moment of shock, you have to go back three weeks. There was still flying and booking outside of Asia. At the beginning of March there were even days of debates as to whether the world‘s largest tourism fair, the ITB in Berlin, really had to be canceled, what kind of impression would that make?
Less than three weeks later, hotels, airlines, tour operators, travel agencies and cruise lines are radically reducing their activities and are threatened in their existence. All around the world.
An invisible virus almost completely wiped out a successful industry and the desire to vacation, which previously stood for over 300 million jobs and a tenth of global economic output. Venice, Mallorca, Mount Everest: What was a coveted, often crowded destination yesterday turned into a shop keeper overnight.
And will remain so for the time being, because hardly anyone is thinking about where the next trip should go these days. People are more concerned with hamsters or with making themselves comfortable in their own four walls. In the travel agency (which is no longer allowed to be entered – risk of infection!) You only need to register to rebook or cancel your holiday altogether.
Corona virus cannot slow the wanderlust
That is understandable and human. But the situation will not stay that way. Because the virus, as it has already done in Taiwan, will also lose virulence in a few weeks, maybe only in a few months, and will no longer spread so rapidly.
However, it is important not to become gloomy in this waiting time until the borders open again, the ships put down again and the planes take off again. There is a fairly simple way to achieve this: wanderlust. This is anchored in the human genome, especially in the travel-loving German citizen, and certainly cannot be eradicated by a sneezed virus.
So if you are soon forced to stay at home for weeks by curfew or corona quarantine, if you fall on the covers there, you will lose your desire to travel. Dream of your next vacation, whether in the “Tropical Island” in Brandenburg or on a real tropical island.
Imagine your next bike tour on the Elbe (with a Meissen detour), your long-planned South Sea cruise (finally see Bora Bora), climbing a mountain (whether Brocken or Montblanc) or simply a hike (through the Spessart or on the Way of St. James).
Travel with your head to other areas and other countries, stay curious, enjoy the anticipation for the first champagne in Champagne, for the next olive harvest in Sicily, for Sex on the Beach on a lonely island. as it should be, talk about the cocktail.
Freedom to travel is a great achievement
We will do our part to make it happen. And in the WORLD continue to publish travel reports and country portraits that promise a break from the Corona brooding and that inspire you to indulge and think, maybe even to travel later – in reality or in fantasy.
It will not just be pieces of peace, joy, pancakes, because even before the pandemic, the world was not a paradise, just like the WELT travel channel was never an uncritical, cliché-exposed travel catalog.
In the coming period of standstill, of forced non-travel, it is worth thinking particularly about a good that far too many have taken for granted for decades, although it is anything but safe and untouchable: freedom to travel. Now that we are temporarily losing it, we hope to appreciate its value.
Anyone who suddenly faces an insurmountable European border will notice what a great achievement the Schengen area is for us Europeans in normal times. And that we should do everything we can to maintain this “freedom” from the North Cape to Crete, from the Atlantic to the Baltic States.
One or the other may now remember what and for what millions of East German citizens and East Europeans took to the streets in 1989: for free elections and freedom of travel, against patronizing and being locked up.
Vacation after the Corona crisis
And since we are thinking: No one is talking about climate protection anymore. But it will continue to play an important role after the travel revival.
So maybe now think about whether you can not take the next vacation trip by bike or train, and would like to have a look at the portal on which you can make compensation payments for environmental protection projects to compensate for the emissions of the next long-distance flight, the next cruise .
And at some point it will be there, the day on which the virus is officially housed and the freedom to travel – hopefully in full – is returned to us. So what?
It would help a lot if we weren’t all (like the embarrassing toilet paper hunters in the supermarket at the moment) unrestrainedly storming the cheap portals and booking the cheapest last-minute deals. Instead, you could go to a travel agency or small specialist tour operator and get advice from real people who are more familiar with algorithms and thus help secure their jobs.
If that costs a few euros more than online booking, it should be able to cope with it, after all, we have no way of spending money on travel for months in the Corona crisis.
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This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We would be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.