By Izzy Morgan | Comment Editor
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a serious economic toll on almost every industry – especially travel and hospitality businesses – with summer 2020 being considered a write-off for travel for most.
There are now more stringent precautions being taken as well as a more dynamic solution to travel. However, the question remains whether it is socially acceptable or even ethical to travel abroad at this time?
As many still feel too nervous to travel at this time, those who do choose to go abroad could be said to be facing judgement from those around them.
Are those who choose to travel being judged online?
Many are experiencing judgement from their peers for choosing to travel abroad at this time as they might not appear to be taking the pandemic as seriously as those who still choose to isolate at home.
People hold this judgement, despite the fact that most travellers are only going to the places permitted by the government deemed to be ‘travel corridors’. These travel corridors essentially mean that the cases are low enough in a particular country that it is deemed to be safe to travel to without having to self-isolate for 14 days when you return to the UK as long as you’re not experiencing any symptoms linked with coronavirus.
Despite these designated travel areas being relatively safe to enjoy holidays in (with many of the countries specifically encouraging tourists) many who would usually choose to venture abroad don’t, due to the fear of negative reception from family and friends.
This is particularly prevalent on social media where users might potentially feel restricted in what they post as they are worried about being judged or avoided by their peers.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions on social media especially from those who are shielding who potentially see the decision to travel abroad as selfish and putting those around them at risk for the sake of going on holiday when there are alternatives available in this country.
On the flip side, there are those who feel they are responsible for helping the travel and hospitality industry get back on its feet as most of their profits from the year will have been lost during the summer lockdown.
Despite some suggestions of a slight upturn in visitors for Wales especially, the industry is on increasingly shaky ground with many businesses on the verge of closure. Many companies, however, aren’t willing to go down without a fight.
RyanAir offering £5 flights to some of Europe’s top destinations such as Greece, Italy and Germany. The success of this potentially risky venture remains to be seen however, it has created a lot of traction online with the discussion of travel being more open and less divisive.
There is also the issue of those who need to travel for work and family, with a lot of the population having gone months without seeing relatives. We have seen happy scenes from many households who are finally able to reunite.
But what about those who live abroad? The emotional toll faced by many families at not being able to see their loved ones in such a long time will no doubt be troubling. This therefore to many might justify their wanting to now travel using the methods deemed safe such as the travel corridors.
How is this affecting the travel industry at the moment?
With the number of cases on the rise again, however, it is likely that we will be seeing more restrictions on travel in the near future rather than more freedom. Whilst a full second lockdown is unlikely, we are already witnessing some countries being an accepted travel corridor by the government and then taken off that list when its number of cases goes up.
For example, just this week we have seen that Portugal along with six Greek islands have been added to the quarantine list for Wales following a rise in cases in these countries.
We have seen the effects of this judgement for those who choose to travel to other countries as recently a flight returning from Zante had 16 people test positive for Coronavirus aboard.
There was online criticism for this as all 193 passengers on this flight were then required to self-isolate despite the area being deemed safe to travel to.
The long-term effects of this pandemic on the travel and hospitality industry will no doubt be catastrophic as we have already seen the demise of many companies.
However, if they are to recover more needs to be done to encourage people to have a more open attitude towards travel and place less judgement on those who choose to holiday abroad this year.
2020 has seen the rise in these arguments across the board but with the future so uncertain it is difficult to tell whether people are right to be overly-conscious about risking travel. On the opposing side, those who feel we owe a responsibility to help this industry are doing the right thing before it is too late might be.