Experts say that travel will never be the same again after COVID-19. While I believe that COVID-19 will inspire some people to rethink their travel habits, we need more than just talking about adjusting our habits when we can travel again.
If we just theorize about “the day after,” no changes are likely to happen. Instead, we need to talk about how to start changing the travel industry right now. This transformation needs a change of heart and mind. For many of us, It feels like our world has shrunk as we are confined in our homes. So, before we talk about how to travel as a peacemaker physically, we should consider how are we traveling now from home.
Travel isn’t about distance; it’s about making a connection
Growing up in Jerusalem, a popular tour destination for visitors to the Holy Land, I was always fascinated by tourists. As a kid, I went to Al-Aqsa School in Jerusalem – named after the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I went to kindergarten and summer camps held in the mosque compound, and on the way to and from school I passed many tourists. Each time, I would excitedly say, “Hello!” and try to catch their attention. Some of them would approach me, wait for my smile to widen, and then snap a photo. I would excitedly pose for them; I initially loved the attention.
Soon after they snapped the photo, however, their tour guide would typically intervene and tell them to keep moving. Even when they were alone, they would usually snap the photo, say thank you, and then move on. I hated that. I felt objectified. I wanted to speak to them, although I didn’t have the English to hold a conversation. Still, they could have spent an extra minute or two speaking with me. But they had plans and places to go, more sites to see, and more people and places to take photos of.
This is an excerpt from an article by Aziz Abu Sarah, originally published on the Impact Travel Alliance website.