Like everyone else, I know where I was when I heard the news. On the morning of September 11, 2001, shortly after 8 am, I was getting ready for work. It wasn’t just an ordinary day – it was more than that. It was an exciting day as it was officially the first day that I was the owner of my travel agency.
On the other hand, I can’t say the same for Coronavirus. It was on my radar (albeit in the background only) as I had clients who had been or were to travel to Asia and the virus had already been making its mark in that corner of the globe. Even though I knew of Covid-19, I truly had no idea the impact it would have or still be making so many months later.
9/11 was an unforgettable tragedy that left 2,977 people dead and that event forever changed the travel industry. As of this morning (11 Sept 2020), Covid has killed over 900,000 and counting globally. Every life is precious, every loss is devastating and yet, I can’t help but draw comparisons and differences to these 2 catastrophic events.
With 9/11 the impact was instant and gut wrenching and it unfolded before our very eyes. We sat glued to the TV and saw the footage of those planes crashing into the towers, we saw the explosions, we saw the towers collapse, the smoke, the ash, the people fleeing the buildings. Later, we saw dazed people searching for their loved ones, signs and pictures of the missing. We saw the tears and perhaps we even shed them. We saw the first responders using their training they hoped they would never need, we heard the wail of sirens and we saw everyday people become heros.
A short 2 days later, on September 13th, air traffic resumed. Airport security was stricter, screening had new benchmarks and as time went on, we saw many new safety and security regulations be added and enforced.
Travel and Tourism was hard hit. Demand dropped due to fear and the winter (traditionally high season) of 2001 was a washout. The years that immediately followed saw many companies involved in travel – wholesale, retail or aviation, being sold, consolidated or closed. It was not the best of times but we persevered. 9/11 was not the only blow to the Travel and Tourism sector.
Even if you’re not ready at this moment to travel, we encourage you to keep the dream alive! So many tour operators, airlines and travel providers have stepped up to provide safer travel options. From small “travel bubbles” with a limited number of travellers, to flexibly changes to $99 low risk deposits, they are doing all they can to make travel possible in the future.
When the time comes and you’re ready to travel again, please book with an ACTA certified travel consultant. Find one in your area: https://www.acta.ca/