In the past twenty days, the coronavirus and the fight against it have become so much more personal.
The initial instinct to hunker down to survive has been completely replaced with humility and an imperative to stand by my community. The death of Dr. Li Wenliang, and countless other front-line medical staff, brought me to tears. Citizens around the globe have come to understand the human toll of this outbreak, and many have jumped to action to raise funds to assist those risking their lives to save others. The travel industry has come to a standstill, but many of our partners have reached out with helping hands. Karen Fedorko Sefer of Sea Song Travel Turkey, and Zachary Rabinor of Journey Mexico took the time to share their experience on how to proactively manage a crisis with my team. Hundreds of Chinese travel professionals dialed in via Zoom. Putting things in perspective, we know, this crisis shall end too.
The kind words and well wishes we have received from around the world have taken my breath away. As my team continues to call guests and partners with news and re-booking options, we experience time and again the strength of solidarity. And during those calls, many people have asked what they can do to support China in this time of need.
Put simply, my answer is this: postpone your journey, don’t cancel. If China is on your bucket list, make next year, when this is all over, the year you visit. By continuing to plan our journeys to visit the people and places that make China so wonderful, we send a message of hope and understanding that this crisis will end. And that, when it does, we’ll be here, standing with the wonderful people we love to rebuild.
Whether it’s in five months or twelve, we look forward to welcoming you to the Middle Kingdom. We look forward to showing you the warmth that you always show us and continuing our joint mission to redefine the purpose of travel for the better.
Lastly, let me show you an image of the stunning Forbidden City in February 2020. No crowds, just beauty and history standing still, even in crisis.
Image by Andres Vargas
Thank you for your continued support and solidarity.