“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
Travelling gives a break from the mundane life. And the rat race of the daily passenger's boarding the train of life. Travelling to new places help us grow our thinking, lightens the mood and refreshes us from within.
Visiting places awakens our senses and instincts. By far, most people who travel do it in their spare time. The benefits of travelling as a hobby may outweigh the negatives for a lot of people. Many people find their sense of freedom and belonging through travelling around and associating themselves with the nature and culture around them but due to a sudden halt in voyaging, people often feel trapped. People live day and night inside the same walls. We fear touching groceries that arrive at our doorstep. Terror creeps as we step out of our houses with a concatenation of thoughts on every possible blood-curdling happenings.
What Happened With The Emergence Of The Global Pandemic 'Covid19'? Transportation sector came to a standstill. Before the outbreak of the global pandemic, travel and tourism had become one of the most important sectors in the world economy, accounting for 10 percent of global GDP and more than 320 million jobs worldwide according to research. However, everything came to a halt and around 100 million jobs were at risk and travel and tourism industries came to a near-standstill.
Is it safe to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Travel comes with some risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Before you travel try to keep a check if COVID-19 cases are increasing in your area and in the place you are willing to visit.
Do not travel if you or any of your family member is sick. Check if you are having any of the symptoms of COVID-19. Try to recall if you have been in contact of such a person having any of the COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 -15 days. Unvaccinated family members are at higher risk for illness (older family members, children under the age of 18 and those with underlying medical conditions) should consider postponing all travel until they are fully vaccinated. Consider postponing for the time being visiting to any unvaccinated family members or friends who are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19.
Can we travel after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?
Any activity that involves coming into contact with other people from different households, is not risk free even after full vaccination against COVID-19. Having the required number of doses and giving time for the vaccines to take effect significantly reduces your risk of becoming seriously ill and spreading the virus to others.
It is important to remember that no vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against COVID-19, so before travelling to the destination check local guidance and the COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates to inform the level of precautions you should take.
How to prepare a ‘Family Trip’ during the time of COVID-19?
· Check for any travel restrictions in the area you are planning to visit.
· Check for the stay-at-home orders, quarantining and testing requirements.
· Check websites of Ministries of Health, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Local Health Authorities.
· Check the travel requirements of your airline carrier.
· Carry required medicines.
· Review your health or travel insurance to check COVID-19 related coverage and limitations (if any).
· Check for latest information on changes to service and procedures.
These policies may change with little advance notice and your travel plan may get disrupted. So, carefully check and go through all the restrictions and requirements.
Furthermore, if you or any of your family gets exposed to a person infected with COVID-19 during the trip, you may be isolated or quarantined and your return may be delayed.
o Before travelling make sure you and your family are up to date with your routine vaccinations as recommended by your local health authorities.
o Try to avoid travel where physical distancing may be difficult for prolonged periods. Plan to avoid travelling at peak times and take routes that are less congested wherever possible.
o If using public transport, try to limit your contact with frequently touched surfaces and wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Keep a row of seats between yourself and other travellers where possible.
o During your trip, plan to avoid visiting crowded spaces, poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces, as well as any social or mass gatherings such as concerts, events and parties.
o Plan to carry your own food and drinks where possible.
o Try to keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from people in public.
o Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose or mouth).
o Seek medical care immediately if you or any of your family member has a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other symptoms of COVID-19.
Things to take into account when staying in a hotel:
· Are the staff wearing masks at work and practicing physical distancing?
· Are extra precautions in place, such as glass barriers at check-in, barriers to allow for physical distancing between all staff, guests and visitors in the lobby, elevators and common areas?
· Is there an appropriate ventilation system?
· When you arrive, disinfect any highly touched surface in your room. If possible open windows to help ventilate the room on your arrival.
Things to do after returning from the ‘Trip’:
Follow recommendations or requirements from your national or local authorities, and continue to follow the precautions – including watching for symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical advice.
Positive Impact of ‘COVID19’ on the Environment:
The Air Quality:
After the lockdown was put in place by many countries, there was lesser travelling done by people, whether it be by private vehicles or by trains, buses and flights. Industries were not allowed to function. This in turn led to the pollution in the air dropping significantly, as there was a marked decline in nitrous oxide emission.
The Water Quality:
Since there were no boats, weather they be fishing or the tourist ones, playing in the rivers and waterways, the water has cleared up. In few places the water was so clear that the fish could be seen. No doubt, because of the lesser human footfall even the oceans had been recovering and marine life is thriving.
Effect On Wildlife:
Animals have been spotted moving about freely where once they would not dare to go. All due to lack of human interference.
Effect On Vegetation:
Plants are growing better because there is cleaner air, water and because yet again there is lack of human interference. With everything at a standstill, plants are allowed to thrive and grow and produce more coverage and oxygen.
Negative Impact of ‘COVID19’on the Environment:
Increase of Biomedical Waste Generation:
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, medical waste generation is increased globally, which is a major threat to public health and environment. For sample collection of the suspected COVID-19 patients, diagnosis, treatment of huge number of patients, and disinfection purpose lots of infectious and biomedical wastes are generated from the hospitals. For instance in the city of Ahmedabad of India, the amount of medical waste generation is increased from 550-600 kg/day to around 1000 kg/day at the time of the first phase of lockdown.
Safety Equipment use and Haphazard Disposal:
To protect from the viral infection, presently peoples are using face masks, hand gloves, face shields and other safety equipment, which increase the amount of healthcare waste.
Municipal Solid Waste Generation, and Reduction of Recycling:
Increase of municipal wastes (both organic and inorganic) generation has direct and indirect effects on environment like air, water and soil pollution. Due to pandemic, quarantine policies established in many countries have led to an increase in the demand of online shopping for home delivery, which ultimately increased the amount of household wastes from shipped package materials.
Ecosystem At Risk – Illegal Deforestation, Fishing And Wildlife:
Environmental protection workers at national parks, land, marine conservation zones were required to stay at home during the lockdown resulting in leaving these areas unmonitored. Hence, there has been a rise in illegal deforestation, fishing, and wildlife hunting.
The present situations of travel and tourism have promoted the spread of highly infectious novel corona virus, which spoils tourism and raises serious questions about the future of this sector.
Various measures have been recommended or imposed by the governments to control the spread of COVID-19. Travel behaviour has been significantly influenced due to such measures. A significant difference has been observed in the frequency of trips for the domestic, outbound and inbound tourism before and during the pandemic.
The GLOBAL PANDEMIC devastated economies. For example, in Nepal, the travel and tourism sector contributes to 8% of GDP, 6.7% of total employment, and generates 6% of the total foreign exchange earnings. Nepal Tourism Board estimates that loss of 85.2 billion USD monthly from tourism sector only and three in five employees lost their jobs due to COVID-19 in Nepal.