We’ve long ago realised that the pandemic wouldn’t happen as a ‘V’ – a lockdown, and then no semblance of a lockdown – and that, instead, the road out will be long, gradual and full of grey.
This weekend, UK hoteliers admitted they were working towards reopening in July. Italy, surprisingly, will reopen its borders early next month. Emirates and Lufthansa are among the airlines to announce a few flights’ resumption – with Lufthansa’s beginning on Thursday – while Wizz Air has already begun doing so.
For travellers and, as such, travel PRs, there are numerous things to consider. For instance, what is the airline’s policy? Emirates, as an example, has said it will only accept fliers who comply with their destination countries’ entry criteria requirements. Gloves and masks are mandatory, and cabin baggage must be checked.
Social-distancing procedures are likely to render group trips a particular headache. Are local cultural sites going to even be open? Are restaurants viable? Taxis don’t seem an option, unless they’re the big mini-van type. Will journalists be expected to wear masks the whole time (and meals be taken privately)? Will PRs or guides be providing those masks?
I find group trips hard to conceive, meaning that individual trips may become the temporary norm. I’d certainly feel more comfortable with those for now. Though less efficient, they do enable journalists of different levels of caution to travel to the same destination. Maybe there’s scope for an individual/group trip blend: a group of journalists travelling separately but around the same dates, and guides on rotation, so that everyone sees everything but at different times, on a rota? Hmm.
For now, us British citizens facing a 14-day quarantine after travel seems a deal-breaker on any foreign adventures. Staycation press trips sound much easier to arrange, and thus set to resume in cautious earnest whenever our government’s advice changes.
From you, I’ll want to know exactly what the post-pandemic experience will be like. What will be open, and what won’t be? Meanwhile, I’ll be responsible for checking that my plans for fulfilling my angle – visiting a specific location, say, or enjoying a certain festival – are, in fact, viable.