Suppose you threw a party, invited everyone you knew, and no-one showed up? What would you do?
I didn’t think to ask that on a recent visit to Freiburg. Maybe I should have.
This is a big year for the biggest city in my area. Founded in 1100, Freiburg had lots of events planned for its 900th anniversary. Then the pandemic hit.
In March and April the streets were mostly deserted. Even now, at the end of the summer tourist season there don’t seem to be big crowds. And while you do see the occasional tourist poring over a map on a street corner, they all seem to be German. No big-spending foreigners.
If you make television sets you can theoretically make up for your losses during COVID-19. People may have put off buying a new set, but you know they will eventually.
But how do you make up for a lost tourist season? It isn’t as if people will be getting twice as much time off work next year.
Not to mention that we seem to be conditioned to milestone numbers. Will it be as appealing to visit a city celebrating its 901st birthday? Somehow I doubt it.
Freiburg’s problem isn’t unique – and at least it is in Europe where crossing borders is once again relatively easy. Canadian tourist operators are really hurting, as Canada’s borders remain closed to pretty much everyone.
I’m not sure what the solution is. Government handouts can’t last forever. And it will be interesting to see how long it will take for the travel industry to recover. If indeed it can recover.
How do you feel about tourist travel? Are you itching to get on a plane and go someplace new? Or will you wait a few years when theoretically COVID-19 will not be an issue?
I’ve made myself a mental note though to make trip to Freiburg in early January. I’ll bet I can get lots of Freiburg 2020 souvenirs at very low prices.