Lockdown might be easing, but questions about what it's like to travel right now still abound. Air bridges are opening, but what measures will airports and airlines put in place to keep people safe? How and where will quarantines be imposed? What does "the new normal" look like?
We've sent Active Traveller's contributing photographer Daniel Wildey to La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, as part of a UN-organised delegation that'll look into how travel and tourism will work for the forseeable future.
In part one of Daniel's account, he explained what it's like to fly right now. Here, he details how the Canary Islands are implementing safety protocols. Keep your eyes peeled throughout this week for further updates on what it's like to travel right now.
Island of Isolation
As far as safety measures go, the procedures and etiquette are clearly taking some time to bed-in, but everywhere in the world is in a trial-and-error pattern to some extent. There are also cultural obstacles to overcome, such as the locals' preference for eating indoors (apparently only tourists eat in the outdoor heat!)
It seems crazy to spend time outside wearing a mask, and then remove it to sit down with five other people for dinner indoors. These things will take time to figure out and to become the norm (although I suspect the old boys in the tiny villages will no doubt eschew the mask the world over).
Will Packages Deliver More This Summer?
For one thing it would be arguably more irresponsible to travel to a city right now - you are far more likely to come into contact with essential workers for example, and elderly or at-risk residents. And besides, no city in Europe will be offering its usual attractions or atmosphere for the time being.
An all-inclusive beach resort however has a lot going for it: everyone you meet will either be a safety-conscious (and trained) staff member, or a holiday-maker (and you have to assume nobody would travel if they weren’t pretty confident about their health). Any of these may be asymptomatic of course, but with mask protocols and a generally alfresco lifestyle, the Canary Islands’ honeypots could be one of the safest places to holiday. Isn’t a brigade of sunloungers in formation already the perfect expression of a social distancing regime?
Then you have the much quieter gems like La Gomera where social distancing comes almost as standard.
Read part three of Daniel's La Gomera diary - Is It Safe to Travel?