Contribution of AITR
29 May 2020

Contribution of AITR.

Tourism in the age of coronavirus

Will this hallucinatory story really encourage deep and positive reflections on tourism, will it produce a virtuous paradigm shift? Optimists believe it or at least affirm it, argue that mass tourism will be reduced, that we will prefer healthier and more natural holidays, question consumerism, reflect on climate change and pollution, etc. etc.

It will be like this?? Are we sure?

Meanwhile, it seems that we will necessarily focus on private, family, car transport, preferring it to public transport, which entails greater risks for our health and compliance with many annoying rules.

In public transport, measures must be taken to avoid the proximity of travelers, on trains, planes, buses; we will have to wear masks, gloves, you will have to disinfect, there will be body temperature controls and this will cause anxiety. There may be an automatic increase in fares as seats on planes and trains will be reduced ; the increase in costs combined with the impoverishment of a large part of the population could cause a selection by income, with the exclusion from the tourist use of large popular masses, or a sharp reduction in the availability of spending for families.

Spending your holidays in your own country will be experienced as a fallback by those who had planned a trip abroad, to get to know new countries, different cultures and have new and stimulating experiences. The hotels will have to organize themselves and take on unpleasant hospital characteristics: masks, gloves, gels, constant warnings and recommendations, distances. Buffets abolished, only table service. No games for children, no gym, no dancing, parties, concerts, collective entertainment. Maybe masked balls will be offered, as in the tradition of past centuries. The conviviality and sociability that have always characterized many tourist locations in our countries and that are a characteristic of social tourism will be lacking. The lunches in the restaurant will probably be served in two shifts as the tables will be spaced: at the end of the first shift it will happen that the customer who asks for two coffees and a cognac will be answered: I'm sorry sir, but we have to close the shift, in a quarter henceforth we must serve the second round
- Okay, but in a quarter of an hour we can do it
- Ah no, we must also sanitize, disinfect, understand me….

At he elevators we will need to spread a disinfectant gel on our hands before pressing the button, and after pressing it. If a guest gets sick and an ambulance arrives, there will be panic among the other guests who will attend the scene, terrified by the idea of having to be placed in quarantine. But the hotel manager will reassure them: don't worry, Coronavirus has nothing to do, it was a heart attack -And thank goodness! the other guests will exclaim, with great relief.

Will hotels accept senior citizens' groups? Too much risk !!! At the airports, kilometer lines will be formed both at check in and at boarding to respect the distances between passengers, it will not be enough to show the passport, the health passport will perhaps be required and the body temperature will be measured, the times will be longer. On planes, there is talk of abolishing catering, we will bring snacks from home; eliminated pillows and blankets that may have been infected. Partition walls and screens between the seats will be mounted. Controlling body temperature on departure and arrival will produce great anxiety, the fear of being rejected and having to give up the flight.

Difficulties for hostels and mountain huts offering accommodation in dormitories; guests will not only have to endure those who snore or make other sounds, they will be worried about the health of their neighbors in bed or cot. Shared toilets: complicated procedures must be followed to use them and in any case few will trust, everybody will perceive a strong sense of risk and adventure. Along the narrow mountain paths, complex and dangerous maneuvers will have to be carried out to give way to the spaced pass, with the overhang on the side.

The occasional sexual adventures, frequent on vacation, will become much more complicated, the protection will extend from local to total, with masks and gloves and with the gel on the bedside table, to be used before and after; a certificate of immunity may need to be shown to the partner in advance.

The cruise passengers, mindful of what they saw on TV with the ships in the lazaretto or prison version, the docking refused to the cruise ship in all ports, will be distressed by the idea of having to spend a quarantine on board, closed in a few meters cabinafter spending months in a fifth floor apartment without a balcony. On the beaches it will be grotesque to see bathers in costume + mask, perhaps it would be better to put the diving mask, more in tune with the context.

We will face travel abroad with the terror of falling ill and being placed in quarantine or hospitalized in third world hospitals, which will make us regret our much mistreated National Health Service. Tourists will be kept under control in their movements through an APP; it is objected that this is a violation of privacy. It is replied that whoever has nothing to hide has nothing to fear. It reminds me of the phrase "who is without sin throw the first stone".

However, after this somewhat playful illustration, we can fix some important acquisitions drawn from the experience we have lived:

  • The importance of leading a healthy life, nutrition, physical activity; the virus has hit hard especially weak and sick people
  • Need to spend on health and research, the National Health Services have revealed weaknesses and shortcomings
  • Strategic and valuable role of volunteering in society
  • Contribution from solidarity and philanthropy, in terms of economic resources and free work
  • Importance of solidarity and sharing of sacrifice, sociability in neighborhoods and condominiums
  • Importance of accepting the rules even if the discipline sometimes appears unmotivated or exaggerated
  • Active contrast to fake news, while respecting the right of opinion: refutation, correct information

In tourism and in particular in hospitality, we will have to share many good practices that combine our heritage of values and experiences with new security needs.

  • Offer sociality and conviviality in vacation centers respecting the measures that must be taken
  • Always offer healthy holidays in the open air, in nature, with physical activity
  • Always offer healthy, wholesome food, traditional, rich, varied and tasty cuisine
  • Always propose the meeting and the relationship with the local population, with narration, storytelling, respecting the rules of distance
  • Have an internal medical assistance service, ready for intervention and capable of
    generating safety and reliability for guests
Maurizio Davolio

Maurizio Davolio

AITR President

Jacques Rayet - ISTO 29-05-2020