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‘We’re Going to Make It Through This’

We’re going to make it through this. So will you.

I had another column all lined up and ready to go for this month — it was a cute one about my kids. But as our print date approached in mid-March, it became clear to all of us here at The Group Travel Leader that we should use this space to talk about more substantive things.

Like many of you, I was caught off-guard by how quickly the coronavirus went from a foreign disease to a global pandemic. As I write this, federal, state and local governments are announcing restrictions on public gatherings and ordering blanket closing of bars, restaurants and other public places. Social distancing, a concept most of us had never heard of before, is now at the top of all our minds. Travel, needless to say, has ground to a halt. And things are changing so quickly that, by the time this magazine is printed and delivered to you, the circumstances I’m describing today could seem laughably out of date.

It’s becoming clear that this outbreak is going to cause large-scale disruption across almost every part of the global economy. But unfortunately, travel, tourism and hospitality will be among the hardest hit. There will be plenty of bad news in the coming days. But the news is never all bad. In fact, there is enough good news still to leave us feeling hopeful about the future.

The first bit of good news is that we’re beginning to see a national unity and solidarity that many of us thought we may never witness again. The public at large has come to see the size of the threat clearly. And though nobody enjoys quarantines and restrictions, people have accepted their necessity and, by and large, are doing their part to help stop the spread of the disease. None of us knows how long these measures will last. But sooner or later, they will work. One day, the coronavirus won’t be part of our present anymore — it will only be part of our past.

The next bit of good news is that human beings are wired for travel. It’s in our DNA. Our desire to explore new places, meet new people and see new things is irrepressible. Once the restrictions are lifted and the smoke has cleared, people will still want to travel. In fact, given how severe the restrictions have been, there will probably be a lot of pent-up demand for the travel experiences our industry provides.

The final bit of good news is that humans are inherently social. We were made to be together, and we’ll always look for ways to do the things we love with people who love them as much as we do. That includes travel. And if you’re a group travel leader, people are going to want to travel with you.

That’s why we’re sending you this magazine today, even if you’ve been stuck at home for weeks. Because one day, you’ll be able to travel again, and we want you to be ready.

So from all of us at The Group Travel Leader, hang in there. Keep your head up. There are brighter days ahead, and we look forward to experiencing them together.

We’re going to make it through this. So will you.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.

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