INDIA: The COVID-19 Pandemic has been frightening and frustrating but it has offered travelers an opportunity to stop and think about the future of travel. Travelers sensed relief as the restrictions started lifting a few months ago. Also after the success of vaccines, destinations started showing signs of a new life as people started traveling again to their favourite locations for various outdoor activities. Though, wearing a mask and respecting other people’s space while you go out is still a must.
The question now is what can now be done to help travel to rebound? What lessons have this global reset taught us?
A general feeling around the world is to put more emphasis on sustainable tourism, traveling slow and getting off the beaten path. We all have learned from the lockdowns that travel is a privilege and not a right, so when the world reopens and it’s safe to travel again, you should be very selective on the places you want to see. The focus should be on visiting local communities and homestays and help rebuild local businesses.
A traveler should also be taking measures to lower their risk of contracting coronavirus during flying, choosing a hotel or destination, etc. Various countries have released a series of recommendations on travel restrictions for travelers coming in and are considering creating a “travel bubble” where it would open its border to travelers from select countries. Few destinations are asking for proof of a negative COVID-19 test before travelers upon arrival.
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The fact though is that despite all the precautions, COVID-19 still remains a serious risk. Tourism is an industry where millions of people are dependent for their livelihoods, and they are at a huge risk as travelers return.
So what should a traveler do to satiate his hunger for travel? Here we list a few options to travel safely:
- Don’t assume that because a place has opened up, there is no longer any risk.
- Check for government travel advisory before planning.
- Decide on destinations, hotels, and operators that are following COVID-19 safety guidelines.
- Wherever you go, it’s safest to stick to wide-open spaces and avoid crowds.
- Indulge in activities that have lower risks, like hiking and camping, visiting a museum in the morning hours, etc.
- Wearing a mask in airports and on your flight is a good way to protect yourself.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and avoid touching your face.
- Carry hand sanitizer for situations where washing hands may not be possible. Apply sanitiser after using the bathroom, before eating or drinking, and after touching any surfaces that other members of the public may have touched.
- Practice social distancing – maintain a distance of six feet or more from people outside your own household/other than your immediate travel companions.
- Comply with all local regulations, and know what they are before you travel.
- If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or think you may have been exposed, JUST do not travel.
- Finally, even if, you’ve received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, don’t forget to wear a mask and social distance.