Four stories of how people did their best to relax when the coronavirus changed their plans—an impromptu trip to the theme park, a father-son trip to the Boundary Waters and more. Four Stories Of How People Traveled During Covid
Christy Reynolds, Her Husband And Their Three Children Braved Walt Disney World.
Disney At Its Least Recognizable: With Short Lines
Christy Reynolds and her family thought hard and decided on a summer holiday plan that normally wouldn’t top their list: the world-wide tourist destination just down the road from their Central Florida home.
They hit Walt Disney World just after it reopened in mid-July, with coronavirus cases surging in their state.
The 42-year-old women’s boutique owner and her family live in Oakland, Fla., about a 20-minute drive from the theme park. They decided on a last-ditch staycation.
Ms. Reynolds, her husband, Tom Reynolds, and their children, Lily, 13, Gus, 10 and Posy, 6, had been quarantining since March. “We were finally able to get out and do something as a family,” she said. “We kind of wanted to just like celebrate that we all survived.”
They were also drawn by the prospect of having the theme park almost to themselves, with minimal lines or crowds. Locals normally avoid Disney World in summer, a peak time for out-of-towners, she said.
“We knew that it was a kind of unique experience for us to go when it wasn’t going to be so crowded. It was something we thought our kids are never going to probably see again,” she said. “That’s why we were like, ‘We’re gonna just do it.’ We’ll mask up and hope for the best.”
They stayed for four nights, splitting time between Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. She said she felt safe the whole time.
“They really have taken this very seriously,” she said.
Temperatures were checked before entering. Every queue for every ride had clear markings for where people where supposed to stand to give everyone room. And masks were mandatory.
The new normal meant the family’s experience wasn’t 100% pixie dust. “It was just very hot and sweaty” with a mask on all the time, Ms. Reynolds said. “You take your mask down just to take a drink of water, and if you’re moving, you get yelled at. They’re like, ‘Please put your mask up,’ and it’s like, ‘All right, just taking a drink, you know?’ ”
It was disconcerting to hear mask and distancing reminders over the park’s loudspeakers, said Ms. Reynolds, whose family used to be frequent pass-holder guests. She and her husband have also worked as cast members at the park.
“They normally never announce anything over the speaker unless [something terrible has happened] and they’re trying to get in touch with you,” she said.
She also found the park’s relaxation stations, a rare area where guests could take their masks off, curious. “I guess the coronavirus doesn’t go there if you take your mask off, like Disney magic,” she said, chuckling. (Disney has a station in each park designed to offer guests who need a break from the heat. The areas are configured with more than 10 feet of social distancing between parties and a limited number of guests allowed in each area.)
As a small-business owner, Ms. Reynolds said she was glad to do her part to support a local institution. “I know that we all have suffered,” she said.
And the family did get on a lot of rides over their four days there.
“We literally did an entire park of all the rides, all the big, most popular rides, in one day,” she said. “Really less than a day because [the park] had shortened hours.”
The oddity of the situation struck Ms. Reynolds as the family walked down a virtually empty Main Street, U.S.A. She asked her kids to take a mental picture. “You will never experience it this empty again at Disney World. You just won’t,” she said.
— Ray A. Smith A Globe-Trotter’s Retreat To The Boundary Waters
Robert Keeler knew what his 2020 work schedule was supposed to look like as early as last September. He had 42 weeks of travel planned across the U.S. and from Europe to Australia. Once the pandemic escalated in spring, those trips evaporated, to be replaced with hours of back-to-back phone calls.
“It definitely makes for a longer day, not going to lie,” said Mr. Keeler, a 52-year-old resident of Chaska, Minn., who works in sales for a consumer electronics trade association.
Robert Keeler, Right, And His Son, Ryan, Went To The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness In Northern Minnesota.
Trying to get in touch with clients via email amid conflicting schedules means it’s common for Friday work hours to stretch into the evenings. “You have to be much more patient and understand that things might take a little longer to get done,” he said.
Of all the travel spots on his list, Mr. Keeler looked forward to Australia the most, especially since his work obligations would’ve been a half-hour away from family members who live there. That kind of quality time is hard to come by for a self-identified workaholic, but the pandemic made an alternative possible closer to home.
Mr. Keeler and his 23-year-old son, Ryan, went to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, just south of the Canadian border, in June and August. They were miles away from civilization with little cell service. The barrage of emails and phone calls halted.
The two of them spent four to five hours paddling in their canoe each day, trying (and failing) to catch lake trout and spotting bald eagles, coyotes and other wildlife around them. They went days without seeing people in June, but in August, there were plenty. The two of them had to keep paddling until they found an open campsite because most were taken.
The best moments were the nights when they sat in chairs overlooking the lake and stayed up late talking under the starry sky. Mr. Keeler loved listening to his son share details about what was happening in his life, from navigating work after being furloughed to picking out a new tattoo. “You free yourself from all those distractions, and the conversations tend to be a lot deeper, a lot more genuine,” Mr. Keeler said.
“It’s funny how all the crap that’s going on with Covid is probably our favorite summer,” Mr. Keeler said.
He and his wife are already planning their next getaway before they reach Minnesota winter, dusting out the mothballs in their 20-year-old travel trailer and giving it a much-needed makeover. He’s not sure where they’ll go in the next couple of weeks, but staying in Minnesota for Split Rock Lighthouse State Park or Gooseberry Falls State Park are possibilities.
“Wherever I’m at, I’m working. It’s easy for me to be in L.A. and overlook the ocean and work still,” Mr. Keeler said. “I see some pretty cool places, but you’re still grinding away and it’s just nice to escape.”
—Cordilia James On Martha’s Vineyard, A 12Th Birthday Celebration Marks A Poignant Milestone
For Trenesa Danuser, celebrating her son’s 12th birthday last month surrounded by family and friends on Martha’s Vineyard was the fun-filled, carefree-time he deserved.
Usually, the Danuser family, which also includes 19-year-old daughter Dylan, seeks international adventures on their vacations together, with past trips to Dubai, Sri Lanka, Spain and the Dominican Republic. But because of the pandemic, the Danusers wanted to visit a destination they hadn’t been to before and was within driving distance of their home in Maplewood, N.J.
Romon Danuser With His Birthday Cake On Martha’s Vineyard.
The family chose to spend a week in August on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, relaxing on the beach and savoring lazy days to relieve the stress of the pandemic and news of racial injustice.
Romon’s 12th birthday felt like an especially profound milestone to Ms. Danuser, a communications strategist, because of the weighty conversations she had with him throughout the spring, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests it ignited, she said.
Ms. Danuser, who is Black, decided it was time for what she called the “Black boy talk” with Romon to explain how some parts of society may treat him differently because of his skin color, no matter that his father, Chris Danuser, is white. “I shortened his childhood in some regards,” said Ms. Danuser. Because of those difficult discussions, he was forced to mature quickly, she added, well beyond his 12 years.
Two other families, friends of the Danusers, rented homes nearby for the same week. The group of 14 took Covid-19 tests before the trip and “pinkie swore” that before the start of their trip together they would fully quarantine, Ms. Danuser said. Romon also brought a friend along. “They were able to play tennis, walk to the beach, play videogames,” said Ms. Danuser. “It was important to let him just be a kid.”
Trenesa Danuser (Front Row, Denim Jacket) With Family And Friends On Martha’s Vineyard In August.
The comfortable proximity the families shared on the trip, especially for Romon’s birthday party, made the celebration more poignant for Ms. Danuser and her husband, she said. “Romon didn’t see the significance of it, but all these people who had been locked in place had the great fortune to be together in that moment,” she said. “To see the faces of all the people who were genuinely supporting us in marking this moment for our son, despite the swirling challenges we’re all facing, it was so special.”
Romon’s birthday dinner was a “shrimp fest” honoring his favorite food. The family made shrimp-fried rice, barbecue shrimp skewers and shrimp-and-garlic pasta for the party, which was held on the wraparound porch of the Victorian-style home they had rented. The vanilla birthday cake included the Black Dog logo from the famous Martha’s Vineyard eatery. “For years to come we’ll know where we were when we celebrated this birthday,” Ms. Danuser said.
Abbot Paul Stonham, a 73-year-old monk who presides over a Catholic monastery in England, was looking forward to a week’s summer vacation in Greece. There he hoped to visit old friends, take early morning swims and discover architectural gems.
Instead his vacation morphed into a staycation that saw him holed up in Belmont Abbey fielding Zoom calls, WhatsApp messages and tapping out a new daily online message that is shared with a growing body of Facebook followers. “I have never been so busy in all my life,” he said. “I have never worked so hard.”
In normal times, the abbot’s day is filled with a monastic routine of prayer and meeting parishioners around the abbey, which is near Wales. This summer Abbot Paul is mostly deskbound. He hasn’t so much as visited a shop since the pandemic hit.
When Covid-19 arrived in March, he was visiting another Benedictine monastery in Rome. Upon his return to England he had to self-isolate in Belmont Abbey for two weeks, as per government guidelines. “It was like heaven,” he recalled. He slept, prayed and enjoyed several novels. “It was like a real holiday,” he said. “It was a great kind of disappointment when I came out of it.”
The ensuing months were tough. Several of the 20 monks in the monastery fell ill with Covid-19. Abbot Paul and others had to look after their sick brothers.
Instead of vacationing, he had to rethink how the monastery was run, ensuring that parishioners wear masks to mass, abide by social distancing rules and submit to temperature checks. The new setup “actually makes the celebrations more peaceful and prayerful than they were previously,” he said. The monastery, unable to hold in-person retreats, now offers an online alternative. A new audio system in the chapel will soon allow live-streaming of services.
The virus has curtailed international travel plans.
In May, Abbot Paul was hoping to travel to Thessaloniki in Greece, a place he holds dear—he once studied there. However, the risk that he would have to quarantine upon his return to the U.K. meant he couldn’t go. He was also looking forward to visiting Rome in September for an abbot’s congress. That has been postponed. Normally he also travels extensively in Latin America, where he holds workshops and visits a monastery in Peru that Belmont monks founded.
Abbot Paul misses the day-to-day interaction he used to have with people in the area and abroad. He now spends a lot of time inside the 19th-century abbey communicating by typed word and videoconference, which he said is much more time-consuming and tiring than meeting in person.
Before Covid-19 arrived, he already led full days, rising at 4 a.m. for prayer and to walk his dog, Toby, and ending his days at 11 p.m., taking Toby out for his nighttime walk. Now added to this is a daily deadline to write an online message. He started the message during lockdown and is loath to discontinue it after getting positive feedback from readers around the world. “That has been hanging over my head every day,” he said.
The pandemic means that his community can reach out to more people than ever before, which is positive, he said. However, that means a lot of computer work. “It’s kind of monotonous,” he said. “But I suppose that is what monastic life should be if we lived it properly.”
What Travel Will Look Like After Coronavirus
Eight airline and hotel industry veterans make their predictions about what will change about safety and pricing and whether business travelers will ever return to the road.
When will we be traveling again in large numbers? And what will travel be like in the future?
The first question depends on a medical solution to the coronavirus pandemic. The second is best answered with experience.
I asked eight travel pioneers for predictions on what the future of travel will be—current and former chairmen and chief executives of travel companies and a former secretary of transportation. All have experience from past crises and recoveries.
Most foresee a lasting decline in business travel, but think leisure travel will bounce back robustly. That means airlines and hotels will have to change their business plans, being unable to rely as much on rich revenue from corporate travelers. Expect higher ticket prices and room rates for vacationers to cover the costs with fewer high-dollar customers to subsidize bargain-seekers.
“The airline industry is going to have to examine its business plan,” says Robert Crandall, former chief executive of American Airlines. “You are never going to see the volume of business travel that you’ve seen in the past.”
He estimates one-third to one-half of business travel will go away. More meetings will take place electronically. Trips once thought necessary will be seen as superfluous. “Everybody who depends on business travel is going to have to rethink their game plan,” Mr. Crandall says.
The pandemic has forced widespread, rapid adoption of videoconferencing technology. The technology is mature, easy to use and available on any device.
“Will it be as necessary to send road warriors out? I have serious doubts about that,” says David Tait, a founding architect of Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways. “The business market is seriously endangered.”
Jeff Potter, a former CEO of Frontier Airlines who also ran a private-aviation subscription service shuttling people in markets such as Los Angeles-San Francisco, says those frequently traveled hops will probably take the hardest hits.
“We’re all dealing with a case of the unknown,” he says.
Even a tiny uptick at the beginning of the summer faded once Covid-19 cases started to surge in some states. The industry is mired in what has now become a depression. On Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association updated its projection of when travel will return to pre-Covid-19 levels: 2024, a year later than the airline group’s previous forecast.
Hotels may be faring slightly better because many people have chosen to drive to destinations for summer getaways. Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, says a significant rebound can happen without a vaccine. The Chinese and U.S. hotel markets have similar dynamics. About 90% of guests in both places are domestic travelers. Occupancy rates are now over 50% in China, he says, up from 10%. In the U.S., occupancy has been inching up each week.
“I suspect we will see travel mostly come back,” he says. But leisure travel will be a bigger piece of hotel business—a trend that started before the pandemic.
A significant travel rebound, in whatever form it takes, requires widespread vaccination and an effective treatment or cure. It will take both to assure the masses that they won’t risk serious or fatal illness by traveling, experienced travel hands say.
Medical solutions alone won’t do it, though. Industry veterans say countries are going to have to standardize entry requirements, lest confusion frustrate travelers and encourage them to stay home. Will documentation of vaccination be required? What repatriation rules will be in place should an outbreak happen? Will local health-care facilities be adequate, or will vacation destinations need to invest in clinics and hospitals for visitors?
“We’d like to see the world start to try to coordinate,” says Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso, a network of luxury travel agencies. The lack of government coordination and reliability has left potential travelers with a fear of being quarantined or stranded, he says. The lack of clarity on airline and hotel refund policies has inhibited travelers as well.
Virtuoso agencies polled customers recently and found that relaxed cancellation policies were more important to people considering booking trips than a vaccine.
William Franke, whose Indigo Partners owns Frontier, along with low-cost airlines in Europe, Mexico and South America, agrees on the lack of government coordination. “There is no unanimity from a regulatory perspective in the world,” he says. “It’s a mixed bag. It’s hard to keep track.”
With so many hurdles, recovery will be gradual. It will probably take a year or more following the launch of a vaccine for enough people to be vaccinated to encourage travel, and another year after that before travel happens in large numbers.
“Confidence is something you earn. It’s not a switch you flip,” says Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines. “It’s going to get fixed. But what we’ve gone through leaves scar tissue. So there’s some residual barriers. It will change behavior in some of us, not all of us.”
The travel veterans think that all the attention to cleaning airplanes, airports and hotel rooms will fade once the viral threat has faded. Travelers want bargains, and industry cost-cutting always kicks in.
One area where travelers are likely to see permanent change is at airports. Facial-recognition systems for everything from checking bags to passport control are likely to become far more widely adopted to reduce person-to-person contact. Security, passport and customs lines themselves may get redesigned. Video links may enable processing of international passengers before they depart, rather than having them go through passport control lines upon arrival. Even hotel shuttle buses may become a relic.
“There’s just so many parts on the ground that have to be worked out before we get it right in the air,” Mr. Tait says. “The airport part of it has to get less daunting.”
Ray LaHood, U.S. transportation secretary from 2009 to 2013, says right now he wouldn’t get on a plane. Government needs to reassure a worried traveling public by imposing strict safety rules that would help build confidence.
“If I were secretary, I’d be requiring temperature checks before anybody boards a plane and requiring all people wear masks,” says Mr. LaHood, a Republican who served in President Obama’s cabinet. He’d set standards for sanitizing planes and for spreading passengers out on board.
“I think those requirements ought to be there. If they were, people would feel a lot safer flying,” he says. “And I think that would help airlines.”
FAA Asks Airports To Help Deal With Surge In Unruly Passengers
The agency wants to take a more aggressive approach to punishing traveler misbehavior as it is inundated with reports of out-of-control people.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it wants airports to help tamp down bad behavior by travelers.
The number of incidents involving unruly passengers has surged this year, according to regulators. Flight attendants said they have been harassed, threatened and, in some cases, physically attacked.
The FAA has pledged to take a more aggressive approach to pursuing punishments, including hefty fines, for passengers who flout safety rules. But the agency said it has been inundated with reports of out-of-control passengers, and needs help from airports and law enforcement.
“While the FAA has levied civil fines against unruly passengers, it has no authority to prosecute criminal cases,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson wrote to airport officials around the U.S. in a letter released Thursday. Law-enforcement officers are frequently asked to meet planes at their gates following incidents, but often release passengers without charges, Mr. Dickson wrote.
“When this occurs, we miss a key opportunity to hold unruly passengers accountable for their unacceptable and dangerous behavior,” he said.
The FAA said it has received 3,715 reports of unruly passengers since the start of the year. The agency has initiated 628 investigations and 99 enforcement actions. In 2019, the FAA initiated fewer than 150 investigations into passenger behavior. Dozens of Transportation Security Administration screening officers have also been assaulted since the start of the pandemic, that agency has said.
Airlines and aviation labor unions have written to the Justice Department asking the agency to pursue criminal charges against violent passengers.
In some cases, police have taken action. A Miami-bound passenger on a July 31 Frontier Airlines flight was arrested after he allegedly groped two flight attendants’ breasts and punched another in the face, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department’s report.
The passenger, who had been drinking and didn’t respond to efforts by the crew to calm him, was taped to the seat and tied with seat-belt extender for the remainder of the flight, according to the police report. He was charged with three counts of misdemeanor battery, according to the report.
Nearly three-quarters of the incidents cataloged this year by the FAA involve passengers refusing to comply with federal rules requiring them to wear masks on planes and in airports. However, the reasons for the other problems are less clear-cut.
Many people are resuming travel after a period of prolonged isolation and have struggled with new anxieties, airline and union officials have said. Some people traveling this summer weren’t regular fliers even before the pandemic, airline executives say. Flight delays and cancellations this summer have contributed to passenger frustrations, flight attendants have said.
One common factor, the FAA and flight attendants have said, is alcohol.
FAA regulations already prohibit passengers, while on flights, from consuming alcohol that isn’t served by airlines. Mr. Dickson said the FAA has received reports that airport bars and restaurants have allowed passengers to take alcoholic beverages to go.
As a result, “passengers believe they can carry that alcohol onto their flights or they become inebriated during the boarding process,” Mr. Dickson wrote. He asked airports to help curb that behavior by working with vendors and making public-service announcements about the rules.
Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc. in May said they would delay resuming in-flight sales of alcohol in an effort to keep disruptive behavior to a minimum. The union representing Southwest flight attendants said that month that the number of incidents of passenger misconduct had become intolerable, citing a flight attendant who had two teeth knocked out in an assault.
International Travel During Covid-19: Where Can You Go and Which Destinations Are Still Sealed Off
Where can I go? Is it safe to go there? If I go, will it be worth the trip? As the world haltingly reopens amid the Covid-19 pandemic, those are the questions travelers are asking before stepping on a plane again.
Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Travel Tracker is following 1,538 travel combinations between 40 major business and tourism destinations, taking into account coronavirus travel restrictions, vaccination levels and public health rules. So far, the world is taking it slow: only 23% of destinations can be considered “More accessible”, based on our ratings.
The last week has seen Singapore, one of the most difficult-to-visit cities in the tracker, start to lift testing or quarantine restrictions for some countries. Belgium has also recently lifted entry restrictions for travelers from Brazil to South Africa.
As the world changes, we’ll update the data — usually on Friday, and more often for major developments. Our cities are primarily business destinations, and we’ll bring more locations online over time. To start exploring, pick an origin and destination below.
Bloomberg’s assessments are for international travel only and are based on how much difficulty travelers face for a particular trip. A place with a quarantine requirement will rate as far less accessible than one that can be entered with just a negative Covid test.
At this point, 34% of trip combinations aren’t possible because of those rules. Bloomberg’s data shows that 12% require mandatory quarantines, a procedure that can make a visit possible but difficult. And 17% are completely open, while other trip combinations have relatively easy requirements to enter.
It’s important to note that rules can be different based on citizenship or permanent residency, which can make travel easier. Always check with the relevant government authorities before booking a trip, and know that rules can change quickly.
Bloomberg’s analysis assumes that travelers are vaccinated, since many places require vaccination as a condition of entry. Rules for unvaccinated people can be stricter and aren’t included here.
Just because you can go somewhere, is it worth the trip? Stepping off a six-hour flight to find out that restaurants are closed would be a disappointment. At present, 18 places are rated as being most open upon arrival, while 7 places fall into our least-open rating.
With outbreaks in new hot spots and flare-ups in places that have faced surges before, many travelers are looking at local vaccination rates before booking a trip.
Flight capacity has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. For the week starting August 23, the number of available seats on flights between the destinations Bloomberg tracks was 56% below the comparable week in 2019.
Bloomberg’s ratings come from a combination of travel-restriction data provided by Sherpa, vaccination data compiled by Bloomberg, city openness data from local Bloomberg journalists, and flight capacity information from OAG.
Asian Tourism Sees Ups, Downs In 2nd Year of Pandemic
From the Great Wall to the picturesque Kashmir valley, Asia’s tourist destinations are looking to domestic visitors to get them through the COVID-19 pandemic’s second year.
With international travel heavily restricted, foreign tourists can’t enter many countries and locals can’t get out. In the metropolis of Hong Kong, glamping and staycations have replaced trips abroad for at least some of its 7.4 million residents.
Across the Asia-Pacific region, international tourist arrivals were down 95% in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period before the pandemic in 2019, according to the U.N. World Tourism Organization.
New variants of the virus loom — a constant threat to any recovery in even domestic tourism. Warnings of a possible third wave in India worry Imraan Ali, whose houseboat on Kashmir’s Dal Lake is his only source of income.
“Since we are expecting a good influx of tourists, we don’t want that to be affected,” he said.
India Cautious As Outbreak Recedes
Tourists are returning to the valleys and mountains in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as infections in the Himalayan region and nationwide come down after a deadly second wave earlier this year.
The “shikaras,” or traditional Kashmiri houseboats, are back on the calm waters of Dal Lake as Indians travel at home. India is reporting about 30,000 new coronavirus cases a day, down from a peak of 400,000 in May but still enough for many countries to restrict travelers from India.
Nihaarika Rishabh said she and her husband were relieved to finally get away from their home in the city of Agra for their honeymoon, after their wedding was postponed during the second wave. The vacation in Kashmir has helped calm their nerves after months of the pandemic, she said.
Ali, the houseboat owner, is happy that the number of visitors has gone up. “We have been suffering from past two years,” he said. “Our livelihood depends on tourism.”
But mountainous areas like Kashmir have seen an uptick in infections as the number of visitors rises, fueling worries about a third wave.
Bangkok’s Bustle Goes Quiet
Erawan Shrine in the center of Bangkok once bustled with foreign tourists and locals making offerings day and night. Today, it is eerily quiet. Only a handful of people buy incense or flowers from the vendors who set up stalls outside.
“We are still here because we don’t know what else to do,” said one, Ruedewan Thapjul.
As Thailand battles a punishing COVID-19 surge with nearly 20,000 new cases every day, people who depend on tourism struggle in what was one of the most-visited cities in the world, with 20 million visitors in the year before the pandemic.
Suthipong Pheunphiphop, the president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, urged the government to commit to its plan to reopen the country to foreign tourists in October.
Currently, the streets are all but empty in Bangkok’s Siam Square shopping district.
Passavee Kraidejudompaisarn, the third-generation owner of a popular noodle shop, wiped away tears as she talked about her fears of losing the family business.
Previously, the 60-year-old restaurant would be filled with locals and foreign tourists, bringing in about $2,000 a day. Now, she said, she earns a little more than $2 on some days.
Chinese Stay In China
Strict virus control measures have allowed China to return to relatively normal life. The number of tourists visiting Beijing in June and July tripled compared to the same period last year, while revenue quadrupled, according to Trip.com, China’s largest online travel booking platform.
“I personally feel very safe,” Olaya Ezuidazu, a Spanish national living in Beijing, said on a recent visit to the Great Wall.
But even China is not immune to the delta variant. Outbreaks in July and August prompted authorities to suspended flights and trains to affected cities. Parks and museums reduced the number of visitors to 60% of capacity, down from 75% previously.
Phil Ma felt the resulting dent on tourism at his café in a traditional “hutong” neighborhood, steps away from Tiananmen Square in central Beijing.
“It is obvious during the three or four days from the weekend to today that the number of guests has decreased a lot,” he said.
The alley outside his café was quiet, in contrast to the line that formed for a cup of coffee during a major holiday in May.
Glamping In Hong Kong
The difficulty of traveling abroad has made glamping — or glamourous camping — popular in Hong Kong.
Berina Tam and Vincy Lee went with We Camp, a campsite located in Yuen Long, a rural area in the north of Hong Kong.
“It’s actually a good opportunity for us to really, to try to explore Hong Kong a bit more,” Tam said.
Many glamping sites provide clean beds, showering facilities and barbeque sites for campers to grill kebabs and chicken wings. The typical charge is $65 per person a night.
Bill Lau, the founder of Hong Kong travel platform Holimood, said that glamping offers an alternative for those who find camping too primitive.
“Families and couples need to find somewhere to go during weekends,” he said. “If we are trying to recreate the experience of traveling, it must be an overnight experience.”
Umar Meraj in Srinagar, India, Olivia Zhang in Beijing, Pattarachai Preechapanich in Bangkok and Katie Tam and Zen Soo in Hong Kong contributed.