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Fridays with Firdosh

Dear Friends and Colleagues April 09, 2021

The biggest news in the travel industry these days is the arrival of vaccines amidst all this talk of why you should or shouldn’t get vaccinated. After all is said and done, the world will get its full dose of vaccines, helping us to get back our lives as well, of course, making the big pharma grow even bigger!

I received the first of my two Pfizer ‘jabs’ last Sunday. Although I was duly cautioned of post-vaccination reactions, I have to say that this one was a breeze, at least up until today. The only reaction I actually waited for was to get itchy feet and hallucinate about all of the possibilities that I might experience as I embrace travel once again! Whenever I speak to my friends, colleagues or business associates, the one pertinent subject we all gravitate towards is travel and then we either reminisce those pre-pandemic glory days or we dream of post-pandemic adventures we wish to embark upon at the earliest opportunity.

Lately, it has dawned on me that the way we travel will supersede where we will travel to. In the full year that has passed since the shutdown, and from tacking on 116Km on the odometer daily just to and from the office, I have my car now sitting on blocks and off insurance. No more fill-ups and no sitting for hours on end in traffic. No spending on fast-food lunches and no cocktails either. And yet, I have not slowed my work output nor have I stopped taking phone calls and answering e-mails. There’s also this most amazing discovery... I have learnt to be busy without being busy!

It may sound odd to many, but my time over the last several months has been spent planning our strategies for when the much anticipated ‘revival’ of the tourism industry happens. Currently, there’s enough blame going around for the lockdown measures and even our industry has folks who decry it as draconian policies. Even though I too would want the world to go about their business normally, I'm of the firm opinion that for now, prevention of certain activities will be the ultimate cure. Opening up travel at any faster pace and thereby placing the travelling public in harm’s way may not be the right choice at such a crucial time in our lives. Hence my working on our future plans and putting out ‘feelers’ for post-pandemic travel continues. At the very least, I don't intend to be caught flat-footed when the travel tsunami is upon us and our business takes off. Having my ducks in a row way before this happens is what I consider to be time well spent, never mind that there’s no paycheque for the time being.

Which brings me to my point of the way forward. If there’s one thing that the lockdown has taught me, it is that I can do my job equally well, whether at the office or from home. Albeit, I fully realize that it’s not an option for businesses that have to have personnel on-site at places of work. But for me, the advantages of working from home offers me the luxuries that I craved: the simple joys of not having to iron my clothes nor polish my shoes. No such thing anymore as bad hair-days. There’s sublime pleasure in sitting at my work desk barefooted and in PJs! What it all means to me is that in my line of work, I can so easily set up anywhere in the world.

Wouldn’t this be the future that some of us have waited for? Go, relocate for a week, a month, or even a year in a place of your choice, set yourself up with your smartphone, your WhatsApp and your PC and there you have it! That’s the way forward for the future in travel. I read somewhere that in the coming years, more and more travellers will be seeking out rural, off-the-beaten-track experiences to ‘immerse themselves in the outdoors’. This definitely bodes well for the wide-open spaces of Kenya’s Ol’Pajeta , the wilderness of Botswana, Portugal’s Duoro, backwaters of Kerala and Morocco’s deep south, just to name a few of my favourite spots.

But for now, it is with deep gratitude that I thank Canada for continuing financial support for individuals and businesses during the pandemic. Millions benefit from these lifelines when the doors have temporarily shut on businesses. I am grateful to our frontline workers for their dedication to serve just so that we keep healthy and safe. I am grateful for our health-care system that I have to use because of my aches and pains and for which I don't have to worry about draining bank accounts. I am grateful for our amazing multiculturalism. No country is perfect and we certainly have our pitfalls, but we surely live in one of the best places on earth. May God always keep our land strong and free (from this and from any future viruses).


Until next time.

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