Scramble to motivate people to travel in 2020

Leo Olivero

RAF air movements to war-torn areas add to British Airways flights

Up to a few weeks ago, we all thought the world around us as we know or knew it, was crumbling or was disintegrating. But now all is fine it seems. All is beautifully fitted, perfectly balanced. All is normal or, totally abnormal, if you’re seriously thinking of taking a family holiday. Particularly, to one of those exotic destinations or to any of those colourful sand, sea and sun filled places in one of those far flung places around the world!

What seems sure according to experts is that any rebound in travel and tourism brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic will start slowly as travellers stay closer to home. A recent study from Longwoods International (a leading travel and tourism research company) found that would be travellers, some 82% of those polled, had changed their travel plans for the next six months.

I’m sure readers have heard of ‘TripAdvisor’ who have also recently said “We’ve heard from a number of travellers that the low airfares available along many routes are tempting,” adding, that those willing to book flights do so with those airlines who continue to adjust their cancellation and change policies for travellers across the globe in response to Covid-19.

A New Normal in a Global Wait-and-See Travel Scenario

It’s possibly why a new normal is probably necessary before travel bookings pick up again and would be travellers, especially those with family, have the confidence to travel further. At the moment it very much looks like a ‘wait-and-see mode’ until the virus is really under control and efficient systems are in place to restore confidence in travel.

Take our own international Gibraltar airport, which is just about operating and ticking over thanks to the 3 or 4 weekly flights by British Airways and a scurry of RAF air movements by the MOD who are using Gibraltar airport as a forward base military platform to launch flights in support of the military efforts in war torn Mali and the ongoing anti insurgent operation in Africa’s Sa-hel region. But unfortunately, that’s another world totally distinct from civilian air travel which does not stimulate the local economy.

However, Gibraltar does have its tourists via frontier fall-back position. As our editor Joe Garcia reported yesterday, the frontier is now notching up 100,000 crossings a week, an 85% increase from those full Covid lockdown days. This is notable in Main Street. But it’s far from normal, as some retailers over the last few weeks have kept Panorama updated and informed of the current situation.

When People Get More Comfortable, They’ll Continue to go Farther Away

Again, using the frontier as a reference point, we are lucky from a Gibraltar perspective that we have the busy and sought-after touristic Spanish coast just minutes away from our doorstep depending how far you want to travel. Where millions of British, German and other international tourists are already scampering to return to enjoy their sun, sea and sangria; we have it, for those of us who enjoy those holidays, at our doorstep!