After hearing PM Johnson’s proclamation yesterday about the deepening Coronavirus situation, and how many people will lose loved ones to it before their time, I had a strange dream, set in the world as we know it but one year down the line.
I don’t know what I’d been eating before I went to bed, but it was a terrifying scenario!
In it, the only ones to survive in any numbers were children, who weren’t affected by the virus. And the adults who had come through the other side were hiding out in pockets, trying to take back control while the kids were running riot, setting up kangaroo courts, emptying drinks cabinets and roaring around in cars they learnt quickly how to drive.
But for all the doomsday scenarios and my own runaway imagination, there was one thing that the dream did show, one light at the end of the tunnel. And that was that people still needed to travel.
All the news is showing that hospitality is one of the sectors most hard-hit by COVID-19 worldwide, with a mix of travel bans, borders closing, quarantined cruise ships and hotels, and now, apparently, the mammoth online travel agencies refunding people for travel before they’ve even cancelled themselves. This is going to have a massive impact on small hospitality businesses as they find cashflow a major issue and no chance to plan confidently ahead.
But, for all that, those of us who do pull through this pandemic and come out the other side will find we quickly need to get around. We need to travel, to make journeys, to have stop-overs, and once the virus has been contained and lessons are being learnt, the hospitality industry will be there as one of the first to welcome back its customers, its guests.
So forget my terrible dream of a wild-west world run by something out of ‘Lord of the Flies’. That’s the last time I have strong cheese before bed time!
Instead, let’s do everything we can to keep our guests and our colleagues safe and healthy, learn lessons from the whole situation, and look forward to better times ahead when the world is once again open for business.