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The death of city vacation



(CNN) – Cities around the world are taking a hit from Covid-19 as passengers avoid visiting large agglomerations during a global pandemic. For its part, the number of tourism in megacities has plummeted. In Madrid, arriving tourists decreased by 63.8% in the first half of 2020.

The components that usually make a great getaway from the city are now the reasons why travelers stay away. Crowded museums, restaurants and public transport are not attractive at the time of Covid-19, when we were encouraged to distance ourselves socially to reduce the risk of infection.

Avoid the big city

“Many cities are badly affected by the pandemic, so it̵
7;s not good to galvanize while people are dying,” said New York-based writer and editor Teddy Minford.
Although American citizens can visit Mexico, many gamble on more remote places like these ruins in Chiapas instead of visiting Mexico City.

Although American citizens can visit Mexico, many gamble on more remote places like these ruins in Chiapas instead of visiting Mexico City.

Rodrigo Arangua / AFP / Getty images

Minford canceled a trip to Mexico City in March, but is eager to visit it as soon as it is safe to do so. “I hope to travel there as soon as I’m welcome to support one of my favorite tourist destinations with tourist dollars,” she says.

Mexico is severely affected by the virus with 761,665 reported cases and 79,088 deaths. The population of Mexico City is estimated at nearly 22 million people, making it difficult to avoid crowded places. Excursions to the Mexican capital usually include visits to world-famous museums, street taverns, and day trips to ancient localities such as the Teotihuacan Pyramids.

Mexico is open to American tourists, but because Minford still does not feel responsible for visiting Mexico City, she has visited a family in rural areas of the United States. “Remote visits feel safer. The chances of accidentally getting sick from someone feel lower simply because you can barely see anyone.”

What is even open?

The reduction in city holidays is a result of people listening to advice on avoiding crowds, indoor activities and high-risk attractions. Travelers are also deterred by the fear of getting stuck in a city that could return to quarantine.

Because Broadway closed in May 2021, and Times Square in New York City looks very different these days, many travelers go through city vacations.

Because Broadway closed in May 2021, and Times Square in New York City looks very different these days, many travelers go through city vacations.

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty images

There is also uncertainty about which attractions are open to visitors, as many large cities are partially blocked. “We haven’t booked a single vacation to the city. Fear of the virus has a lot to do with it, but it’s about missing the actual experience,” said Sarah Groen, owner of Bell & Bly Travel. For her clients, trips to Chicago, London, Beijing and New York are off the table.
The coronavirus stopped the city retreat. Hotel occupancy has decreased by 77.6% in municipal markets. Rural partners perform better. For example, the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn in Auburn, New York (pop. 26,000) told CNN Travel that the hotel’s occupancy rate leads to the best 2% of occupancy in the entire Hilton brand in the United States. Similarly, in the mountain town of Aspen, Colorado, there has been a steady stream of tourists since June – total visits have dropped by only 7% since 2019.

(We are yet to find out what the trip to Aspen will look like during the ski season.)

Travel and residence of RV

RV rents also flourished during the pandemic. RVshare bookings increase by 123%. Casey Irwin, a longtime passenger, was scheduled to fly to Detroit, but she canceled the flight in the morning. Instead, she went on a trip through South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana with an RV with friends – a trip that the self-proclaimed “city girl” would never have made had it not been for the pandemic.
Staying in a big city hotel is outside;  The trip with RV is in.

Staying in a big city hotel is outside; The RV trip is in.

air jet

“Traveling through the middle of America provided much-needed peace of mind,” Irwin said. “I have to thank the pandemic for showing me the beauty of the United States and the healing nature of rural travel.”

Major tourist conglomerates have evidence that the pandemic has encouraged travelers to gravitate away from city breaks. Amtrak Vacations told CNN Travel that train travel to urban destinations was down 8% from the same time last year. The U.S. Railroad reports a drop in travel to New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington

Visitor spending in the U.S. capital fell 81 percent ($ 6.5 billion) and hotel revenue fell 89 percent ($ 1.2 billion) from March to September from the same period last year, according to the tourist council of the city.

Scott’s Cheap Flights surveyed members in July and told CNN Travel that only about 18% of respondents said they would go to a big city. Gabby Beckford, a travel blogger, predicts she will be comfortable visiting a major city outside the United States by early 2021.

This year, Beckford planned to travel to cities around the world, but instead visited smaller places in her home state of Virginia. She says rural areas are excited about tourists supporting the local tourism economy, as large cities usually receive all the tourist traffic. Beckford longs to visit friends in Los Angeles, but has chosen to avoid the big cities.

Places such as the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Appalachians have become more popular in the pandemic.

Places like the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Appalachians have become more popular in the pandemic.

Shutterstock

Many international travelers follow suit. In 2019, some of the most popular points of interest at GetYourGuide were the Colosseum in Rome, Italy; viewing the masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan, Italy; and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. These popular sites in Italy are distant memories – now travelers use the platform to book nature and outdoor activities.
Italy had one of the strictest blockades. The capital Rome has experienced a major decline in tourism and many hotels are not yet open. According to Giuseppe Rossioli, president of the Roman hotel association Federalberghi, the hotel sector in the city loses 100 million euros a month. Roman hotels have halved their fees in hopes of restarting tourism in the city.

Calls to the countryside

However, travelers to Italy still choose to visit destinations in the country with a smaller population. “Italians are looking for more remote opportunities such as mountains, nature reserves, and water bodies such as oceans and lakes. For Italians, London and Paris have been replaced by Mount Etna and the Madalena archipelago,” said Carly Stelfox Loya, manager at GetYourGuide.

Due to the pandemic, travelers like Patricia Estrada prefer to visit Italian cities like Calabria (pictured) instead of major European cities.

Due to the pandemic, travelers like Patricia Estrada prefer to visit Italian cities like Calabria (pictured) instead of major European cities.

Alfonso Di Vincenzo / KONTROLAB / LightRocket / Getty images

Florence-based Patricia Estrada usually travels on weekends to European cities. Due to the pandemic, she visited Italian cities such as Calabria, La Spezia and Cornelia. “I feel that traveling to a busy city contributes to the spread of this virus,” she said.

Other European travelers have chosen not to visit cities, no matter how easy it is to travel between major cities on the continent, as city travel is simply not attractive during a pandemic. Yishyene C., a travel blogger in Portugal, had plans to travel to London, but ever-changing rules and restrictions kept her in Portugal. She travels the country and stops in less visited cities, deliberately skipping Lisbon to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus.

“It seemed like a good decision to stay away from the cities,” she said. “The idea of ​​’escape’ in a city has lost its appeal. Especially with the new rules, which require reduced capacity or working hours for many establishments, it seems not worth the time, effort or money.

Even smaller cities have been hit. In Finland, despite the relatively low number of Covid-19 cases, overnight stays in the capital Helsinki fell by 75 from March to June. Half of the nights in the city are from business trips. Heli Mende, head of a visit to Finland, North America, said tourism typically generates 1.6 billion euros a year in Helsinki.

Even relatively smaller cities like Helsinki have seen a drop in visitors, many of whom choose to spend time in more remote parts of the country.

Even relatively smaller cities such as Helsinki have seen a decline in visitors, many of whom choose to spend time in more remote parts of the country.

Shutterstock

Not surprisingly, all Groen’s planned trips to European capitals in 2020 have been canceled. One of her clients wanted to go to Paris, but decided to wait and go in the future, when she would not worry about whether the restaurants and sites they wanted to visit would be open.

Flexible city routes are almost impossible, as many sites and restaurants with a bucket list require advance booking. For example, the Louvre is open, but it is recommended to reserve a time interval in advance to ensure entry. “People just don’t care about spending their vacations, emphasizing what they’re missing,” Groen said.

It is easier to mitigate the risk by avoiding the epicenters of the deadly virus – dense urban areas. City breaks are likely to remain off the table for most travelers until the Covid-19 vaccine becomes widely available.

City travel will return, but until then, passengers are expected to continue to focus on remote tourism as the pandemic progresses.




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