It’s been just over one year since the Coronavirus pandemic shut down the globe. As Lubbock continues to open, we look back to the resilience of the community and focus our sights on a future that remains open for business. Not only was our ability to travel limited, but the local hotels, restaurants and attractions were greatly impacted. As vaccinations are distributed, flights are scheduled and itineraries are eagerly marked on calendars, a new wave of travel awaits impatient tourists.
In the past year, we have become global citizens who have been affected by loss. Loss of time. Loss of opportunity. Loss of loved ones. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been long-lasting in more ways than one. It’s circumstances like these that bring the entirety of the human race together over the sobering thought that the world isn’t as disconnected as we once thought it was.
What was once viewed as a luxury afforded to those with enough vacation time, is now a necessity. Never again will we take for granted the simple pleasures of road tripping out west to explore the great outdoors, visiting home for a nephew’s birthday or returning to our alma mater to cheer on our favorite team. With great loss also brought forth invaluable gains. A world-wide paradigm shift took place giving a new perspective to what matters most.
In the months spent daydreaming about where our first trip will be or who we will visit when it is safe, a flood of emotion is connected to it. Travel brings to the surface emotions like nostalgia when looking back on fond memories. Never again will we take for granted the awkward family photos captured in front of the historical monument that dad thinks is so neat.
We feel immense pride when reminiscing on the traditions and celebrations our travels have fostered. Whether it is making our way back for a homecoming event, attending a wedding or graduation, or gathering together for a reunion, those in attendance are connected through honoring a common interest. Travel has the power to bring us together.
In more ways than one, experiencing the livelihood and culture of an unfamiliar place builds a bridge and cultivates a connection to a reality from a new perspective. From learning new customs to tasting traditional dishes, each experience offers individuals insight into a different way of living — whether it’s an international excursion or simply traveling to a new region of our home country. Travel has the power to educate, promote empathy and create a bond between two unlikely humans.
As we make our way back to the airports and conference centers, opportunity awaits through each keynote speaker, networking event and business meeting. A simple handshake carries with it deeper meaning after significant time of humanless contact. The conversations with your neighbor on the airplane or inside an elevator will no longer be deemed a disturbance, but an interaction that could change your life. Travel has the power to foster opportunity.
Not only is the tourism industry reliant on these shared experiences between individuals to promote further exploration, but each business owner, restaurant manager and event director depends on the economic benefits of outside dollars spent inside a local economy.
It’s no secret travel will look different moving forward. New infrastructure will be created to sustain safe travel, protocols that have been put in place may not be removed for some time. By maximizing the power of travel, we can define the future of tourism. Travel has the power to sustain a community, drive recovery and move our nation forward.
Our time at home has made us crave the world outside more than ever. Many of us show an increased desire to boost our travel in the future to make up for lost time. Disconnecting from responsibility while attending a show at The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, exploring Lubbock’s thriving downtown, or marveling in the majesty of the nearby canyons has never felt as freeing as it does today. The impact of Coronavirus inspired a new generation to reflect on the meaning and purpose of our lives, with travel playing a significant role.
Whether it’s visiting loved ones, experiencing the culture of a destination that seemed out of reach, continuing traditions or attending a business meeting, the power of travel has never carried as much weight as it does today.
By: McKenna Dowdle
By: Lacie Freelen
By: Guest Blogger
By: Visit Lubbock Interns