Since the beginning of 2022, James Stranko has been on the road and writing articles about his travels. In this post, he shares where he has been and what he has learned.
Where I’ve been
New York City, which continues to be a leading light in the post-Covid travel recovery. In the last two weeks, I sat in one sold-out Broadway and one sold-out off-Broadway show. More importantly, I had the only-in-New-York feeling of being in a restaurant where diners were seated so closely that we had to pull out the entire table to get to my chair. It was exhilarating.
Yesterday, New York dropped its Key to NYC program, which required businesses like restaurants and gyms to ask for proof of Covid-19 vaccination. With case numbers dropping, and the city desperate to get back to something that looks like normal, I can’t see how this shift won’t encourage short-haul and long-haul visitors back to the city.
Yet, once again, the world has changed in the blink of an eye.
What I’ve learned
Don’t take the freedom of movement for granted. Russia’s appalling warmongering, and seeming return to Soviet days, made this point painfully clear for nearly 190 million people. Almost overnight, Ukrainians, many of whom became stranded abroad after being on vacations at the same moment the invasion happened, went from being visa-free leisure travelers in the EU to refugees in the same EU countries. Russians, in turn, went from being a lucrative target for tourism boards to near shut-ins after the world rightly closed its borders to them.
The realities of this shift go much further than Russia’s war on Ukraine. Ask anyone from Mainland China or Hong Kong, who have been broadly deprived of their ability to travel abroad for business or leisure. Initially, these zero-tolerance policies (much like in Australia or New Zealand) stemmed from Covid protection measures.
Key points include:
- Instagram and the travel industry
- Chinese tourists and the government
- The age of reinvigorated information control
Read the full post, On the Road #5: How travel can topple strongmen, on Linkedin.