Coming off the worst year on record for international travel, many had hoped that things could only get better in 2021 for the battered tourism industry. As it turns out, the situation went from bad to worse, however, at least when looking at international tourist arrivals in the first five months of the year. See here and the chart below.
Having dropped by more than one billion visitors or 73 percent in 2020, international tourist arrivals declined by 85 percent between January and May 2021 when compared to the same period of 2019. According to the UNWTO, tourism destinations around the world recorded 460 million fewer international arrivals in the first five months of 2021 compared to 2019. Even compared to 2020, when COVID-19’s crippling effect on international travel became apparent in March, arrivals declined by 65 percent, as travel restrictions remained in place in large parts of the world.
These statistics sound horrible, and they are. When people think vacations, we would often consider going to London to visit Windsor Castle, Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, or even Rome to see the colosseum. But who wants to fight all the Covid restrictions of international travel – masks, vaccine passports, or even quarantines – ugh! In short, people have abandoned the idea of long travel and even more going on an international trip.
Does this mean we can’t enjoy travel to an interesting place? Are vacations to be canceled? Perhaps not – it may be time to adapt to the times. Stay positive!
In this light, one may want to consider going local. There are surely many places that one could consider right in your own local area wherever you may be. Without the interference of star-struck traditional known global vacation spots, one may even use the opportunity to reconnect with your own family and friends.
For example, this author once lived in the Chicago area; where could one go when thinking local? Here’s one idea for those that live in the Chicago area – Starved Rock.
Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park gets its name from its history. A group of Native Americans of the Illinois Confederation (also called Illiniwek or Illini) pursued by the Ottawa and Potawatomi fled to the butte (see feature photo) in the late 18th century. In the legend, around 1769, the Ottawa and Potawatomi besieged the butte until all of the Illiniwek had starved, and the butte became known as “Starved Rock.”
The park is a mere few hours drive from Chicago and is characterized by the many canyons within its 2,630 acres (1,064 ha). Located just southeast of the village of Utica, in Deer Park Township, LaSalle County, Illinois, along the south bank of the Illinois River, the park hosts over two million visitors annually, the most for any Illinois state park.
Is there a nice place to stay there? Sure, here is one, Starved Rock Lodge; there are others. Starved Rock State Lodge will relax you in the comfort of their historic lodge accommodations, dining, charming log cabins, and spacious hotel rooms set among the pines, canyons, and waterfalls of the park. Note this is not a promotion of this establishment, it is merely an example to see possibilities.
This is just one place where this author once lived. Perhaps you have ideas in your own local area that is similar or even better. Please let us know in the comment section of this post about your nice local vacation spots. Whatever you do, don’t let this Covid “pandemic” ruin your life – take a vacation, and consider going local if one can not travel long distances.