Given the current circumstances, I've got more time than usual to ruminate on more unusual travel topics. One that I've been considering lately is what will it be like in Europe when travel begins again, especially for those who are the first to venture there. A few possibilities that have come to mind so far.....
- Arrival - I wonder if there will be enhanced screening at Passport control for all incoming visitors, maybe for the foreseeable future? That might be as simple as a verbal questionnaire on health history or perhaps a thermal scan as well. The E.U. may require this of all visitors, regardless of which country they enter first.
- Atmosphere - I wonder if the general "atmosphere" in European cities will be as vibrant and lively as it was in the past, or whether the mood will be somewhat subdued, especially at the beginning?
- Tourist facilities - I wonder how many of the favourite hotels and restaurants we've become used to will still be operating? I expect there might be a lot of revisions needed in the RS guidebooks. Will the same coach firms and drivers that have taken RS and other tour groups around Europe still be operating? Finally, will Museums and other attractions be enforcing "physical distancing" or limiting the number of people allowed to enter at one time, at least in the beginning?
- Wineries - as some of you may know, the Okanagan Valley (where I live) is a large wine producing area. Some speculation has surfaced in the last few days that not all of the wineries may be able to survive the pandemic. Many of them don't sell through the liquor stores, so they depend on customers who actually visit the wineries or order online.
- Restrictions - I wonder if tourists from all countries will be allowed to enter Europe, at least at the beginning. If a particular country is still experiencing active cases of the virus, travellers from those countries may be restricted.
- Travel Medical Insurance - I imagine that insurance companies will have added some exclusions to their policies that will include Covid-19 and similar viruses. It's likely that costs for medical insurance will be higher, especially for us older travellers and especially for those with pre-exisiting medical conditions.
- Transportation within Europe - it's highly likely that not all the budget airlines will survive the pandemic. Those airlines that are able to resume flights may not be operating normal flight schedules for many months, and prices will likely be higher than in the past. Rail networks will probably be operating more-or-less normally, as many of those are operated by governments.
- Cruises - I wonder if it's possible that some cruise lines will disappear in bankruptcy? The cruise lines may have to mothball some ships, as I doubt that they'll be able to get back to normal passenger loads for a long time.
I'm sure there will be other changes that I haven't thought of. All businesses will be focused on getting cash flows back to normal.
With such an unprecedented and severe event, of course no one knows what will transpire several months in the future. However I find it interesting to think of the possibilities. I don't think it will ever be the way it used to be, so we'll probably all have to get used to a "new normal".
Happy Easter to everyone on the forum!