In anticipation for Easter, a lot of tour operators planned tours around the season. But with COVID- 19 raging, most Easter tours have been postponed. It’s hard to go on international tours when borders are closed, airlines have suspended operations and cities are on lockdown.
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For instance, Israel, the home of Christian Pilgrims, has shut down its tourism industry with most tour destinations devoid of the horde of tourists that visit the Holy Land this season. Even the tourism industry in Egypt is feeling the effects of COVID- 19 this Easter season. Most students act as tour guides to raise school fees, but so far there has been no influx of tourists to cater to.
Since Lent, the Easter Christian holiday has played the fiddle to the reign of COVID- 19. Already the government cancelled the St Patrick’s Day parade in Boston on the 9th of March. And last Sunday, Pope Francis live streamed the Palm Sunday Mass without a congregation from the Basilica in Vatican City for the first time in history. To think tourism will go back to a state of normalcy by this Easter is premature. The world tourism industry might not recover completely from the effects of COVID- 19 for at least 10 months.
On the bright side, what we may see during this pandemic is a fresh approach to tourism. With the travel restrictions on international flights around the world, this is a huge win for domestic tourism. For example, more people may engage in private city tours or virtual tourism. In Nigeria, we have a tour company (Skyview Virtual Tours) that offers virtual tourism services. But with the Lagos State lockdown, this might not be possible to explore during Easter.
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As of April 7, 2020, NCDC listed only 15 out of 36 states in Nigeria with confirmed cases of coronavirus. For states or cities with no record of confirmed cases of COVID- 19, people might need to exercise caution when engaging in tourist activities. The recommended tourism activities are the ones that make practising social distancing easy. Such as hiking, mountaineering, city tours and forest bathing.
These are activities you can take part in alone without being in close contact with other people. Just ensure you handle your own transportation to the tourist destination rather than going as a group in one vehicle. And while you are at it, ensure you adhere to the respiratory hygiene rules like sneezing or coughing into elbows and properly discarding a tissue if you use it instead of your elbows. The onus is now on you to be a responsible traveller.
Managers of tourist sites should ensure people abide by the rules of hand washing/sanitising and social distancing if they are to drop by their facilities. If the tourist destination is isolated, then now is a magnificent time to visit it. But if your city is on partial or full lock down, please stay at home.
But most important this Easter, avoid crowded places or post-pone your trip till the pandemic is over. If you are feeling sick or have any coronavirus symptom, contact NCDC or a doctor. Otherwise, stay home and have an Easter staycation this holiday weekend.
Disclaimer: Due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus Outbreak in Nigeria, all forms of travel, especially interstate travel, is not advisable this period. It is best to wait till the pandemic is over before embarking on a trip.
Bethlehem Christians bear the burden of Isrealis’ COVID 19 Crackdown posted March 13th 2020 by Paul Griffen Johnson for Christian Today https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/march/bethlehem-coronavirus-easter-tourism-israel-covid-19.html
COVID 19 Threat to Summer Vacations May Boost Domestic Tourism – Balogun March 8th 2020 by Apata Oyeniran Independent Online Newspaper https://www.independent.ng/covid-19-threat-to-2020-summer-vacations-may-boost-domestic-tourism-balogun/
Boston St Patrick’s Day Parade Cancelled Amid Coronavirus Outbreak posted on March 9th and updated March 10th by NBC Boston https://wwwnbcboston.com/news/coronavirus/boston-st-patricks-day/parade-cancelled/2088234/
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