Well if 1992 was a bad year for Her Majesty the Queen of England then 2020 has certainly been the most annus horribilis of all time for the travel industry. Since the end of the second world war the trend has been very much upward. Admittedly there have been a few hurdles along the way with some being more difficult to conquer than others but surmount them we did. Since those early post war days and the emergence of the jet liner it has gone from being a promising business in which to get involved with to the employer of 10 per cent of the global workforce generating 2.9 trillion U.S. dollars to GDP in 2019. The speed of expansion has, until Covid-19 hit us, just increased with one in 5 newly created jobs in the world coming from travel in the years 2014 to 2019.
2020 and the pandemic has bought a swift, sharp, and painful end to all of that. Almost overnight planes stopped flying, ships stopped sailing and most importantly people stopped travelling. The effect throughout the world has been devastating with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, businesses closed down and revenue streams severed. For those economies around the world who are tourism dependent the effects have been felt harder than anywhere else.
We, as a publisher of news, comment, opinion, and features have also felt the cold wind of travel devastation with little or no income in the last months. Our saving grace has been that we are probably the oldest online-only travel trade publication, set up in 1998. As a result, our transition to a pandemic economy has been easier and our overheads are low. We were even using Zoom in 2019!
So, what have we been doing in this time? Well first and foremost we have helped our clients get their news, views, updates, and offers out to the travel trade as fast as possible. Our Good to Go weekly publication was launched in early March and carries free of charge information which will help the travel trade keep abreast of the ever-changing conditions. Each week we interview several leading personalities in a relaxed format to get their updates and thoughts and of course we will support almost every industry initiative under the sun if it improves the lot of agents, operators, airlines, cruise companies, hotels and destinations. What we do not want to do is support these causes for our brand benefit or pocket. These are sincere measures that we embarked on and are indeed actions that we have always been pleased to initiate.
We have finished off the development of our new web site which will be launching before the end of the year and we have also been creating a brand new virtual platform that is designed to put purveyors of travel goods in touch with both trade and consumers but priced with the knowledge that there are very few travel businesses that are going to be awash with cash.
We hope we will be back, we hope we will be stronger and we hope that the industry as a whole will be better if not bigger. As somebody once said though the one thing that kills you is hope so our intention in this year of living dangerously is not to engender hope but confidence by deploying what we can do to give that belief as we hurtle towards 2021.