Suddenly the World Changed by Geoff, Tour Guide
2020 seemed to start without a hitch, the clocks and calendar all rolled forward as we bid farewell to 2019 and looked forward to a prosperous new year. Business was picking up after the Christmas break, there was excitement in the air, our new Scenic Food and Wine tour was gaining momentum and our minibus was full. Yet unbeknownst to us something sinister was lurking just beneath the surface ready to completely shut down the tourism industry globally; COVID-19.
It seemed to come out of nowhere, this sudden invader. At first, there didn’t seem to be much alarm, practice proper hygiene, increase the frequency of detailed cleaning and wash your hands, wash your hand, wash your hands. Once the international travel restrictions came into play, then things got serious. At first, we thought that’s ok, the international market may have gone, we still have the domestic travellers to get us through what would have been our peak season. When that too was taken away the full impact of this new enemy became truly apparent. To that end, the choice was clear, complete closure of day tour operations and a forced hiatus from the Tourism Industry.
In the space of what appeared to be a few short weeks, the entire Tourism Industry had taken a nosedive, through no fault of its own. What followed and is still following, is a world away from life as we know it: home isolation, social distancing, travel and social restrictions. Whilst this does seem on the whole extreme, it has provided an opportunity to take stock, to step back and look at what opportunities can come from this.
As the primary Tour Guide for Coast to Hinterland Tours, I am not considered an essential worker, no visitors are coming to the Sunshine Coast, so my time is now spent at home in isolation while we come up with a new business strategy for when we are able to operate again. Will Tourism return to the way it was before or will it be a new world where restrictions make travel less appealing; time will tell.
Instead of my days being spent driving around showcasing the natural beauty of this area, the artistic talent of the locals, the incredible food and wine on offer, I now find myself working through a rather long list of odd jobs around the house and garden. You know the type of list, where you complain about never having enough time to get to them, then suddenly find you have more time than you know what to productively do with.
It’s hard. I make no pretence about the daily motivational challenges I face each day, despite the long list attached to the fridge door. Yes, I have repainted most of the inside of the house, yes, I have been busy moving rocks and dirt in the garden, I have baked those loaves I wanted to bake for years, I have finished those 4 books I started many months ago, I have been exercising every day, and yes, the list on the fridge is still quite long. What I haven’t been doing is what I love most, I haven’t been living my passion, I haven’t been meeting new people every day and doing what I can to ensure you not only enjoy your time on the Sunshine Coast, that you also want to come back.
So, rest assured, during this time of inconvenience and uncertainty, we are working towards welcoming you back.