The Global Tourism Crash & other talk

Friday, 17 September 2021

Even in the pandemic and even without getting out on the road – and I’ll be reporting on some Greek Islands travel shortly – there’s often travel talk from at home.

On Wednesday 15 September I joined Darrell Wade of Intrepid Travel, Gemma Sisia who runs the wonderful School of St Jude in Tanzania and Robert McGeary from travel operator APT (Australian Pacific Touring) in a session chaired by Jennifer Byrne to discuss the Global Tourism Crash. The session was organized by AIDN – The Australian International Development Network – click here for the one hour Webinar discussion.

It’s remarkable how the pandemic has effected different regions and countries in wildly different fashions. In most of Europe travel has been continuing – sometimes in fits and starts – but almost exclusively within Europe. People aren’t venturing further afield. In Australia and New Zealand it’s like life within a cave with a rock rolled over the entrance, nobody is getting out overseas and nobody from overseas is allowed in. In Australia those once-upon-a-time travel-enthusiastic-Australians are often not even allowed to go from one state cave to another. Right now the borders are slammed shut across most of Australia.

In the USA travel is continuing within the country, but with assorted limits on Americans going overseas and severe limits on people visiting the USA. In fact the US regulations make almost no sense at all, citizens from countries handling the pandemic very well are banned from entering the US while other countries with much worse pandemic stories are welcome to visit. Check this story from Foreign Policy which reports on how utterly ‘thoughtless’ and ‘unscientific’ US travel policy has become. Or go to this story in The Atlantic on why western governments care so little about the damage inflicted by travel bans.

In much of the developing world the global tourism crash has been an unmitigated disaster. Pre-pandemic we may have been worrying about Over Tourism but in many places poverty has been dramatically increased by the developing world’s current Under Tourism. As Gemma Sisia reports from Tanzania:

As I said tourism within Australia is currently very much a hit and miss situation – even for Australians – with borders opening and (more often) closing on a moment’s notice and often with extremely distressing results. During a spell when the borders were open I recorded this talk at the National Library of Australia, somewhat around the Islands of Australia book which I wrote for them.

As the National Library reported ‘He talks about some of his unique experiences and enlightening travel tales, such as swimming in crocodile infested waters and embracing shoestring travel, as well as providing sound advice – don’t always trust your digital devices to find where you want to go!

Some of the beautiful destinations he has travelled to are brought to life in the NLA Publishing title, Tony Wheeler’s Islands of Australia: Travels through Time. You’ll also find out what Tony’s must-have travel accessory is and where you’ll find the best wine, food and coffee.’