The impact of Coronavirus has been felt throughout the World and no one will or should forget the tragic loss of life experienced by family and friends in all corners of society. For those left behind it is not only coming to terms with the loss of a loved one and picking up the pieces during a time of grief, but also in many cases a loss of work and livelihoods compounding the feeling of loss.
Wales, a dynamic, vibrant, cultured, friendly Country has seen its troubled times over the decades but has always had the ability to bounce back and reinvent itself in many cases. Long gone is the scarring of mountains, villages, railway sidings and communities as the earth beneath them was plundered for ‘black gold’ in the South and slate in the North.
Once such reinvention has been tourism. Although in the past a little know principality tagged on to the side of England, many thought of Wales as little city and a part of England. Only after taking time to explore this wonderous Country in its own right, did they learn differently. From beaches to mountains to museums to restaurants to theme parks and never forgetting castles, those that visited vowed always to return and to journey home to tell their family and friends of their fantastic discovery………Wales.
It would be fair to say that Wales had seen a glimmer of hope in the International tourism market with companies such as Fly 2 Wales and many groups and organizations listed on their supporters’ page highlighting this fantastic Country. Then in 2020 came the sweeping tide of the Coronavirus pandemic with its devastating legacy in its wake. Hotels, self-catering accommodation, holiday parks, theme parks, fairgrounds, museums, art galleries, craft shops, restaurants, fine dining, cafes, pubs and many, many tourist attractions were all devastated overnight by an all-consuming ‘lockdown’ with only essential shops such as supermarkets remaining open. Even Cardiff International Airport closed to all but essential flights, with inter-connecting flights to feeder hubs cancelled. Wales has even become disconnected from England and the remainder of the United Kingdom with the closure of its borders to all but essential services.
One year later, one long, depressing, agonizing, debilitating year, after several lockdowns of various degrees of severity and duration there is perhaps an awakening and along with the green shoots of Spring emerging like the daffodils from the depths of the soil, there is some movement and some hope. Not everyone is enamored with the pace of movement, some think its too fast and we must learn from the lessons of the recent past, others think it’s too slow and it has to be business as normal, but there is a general consensus that green shoots are about right.
Easter 2021 is just around the corner and people are slowly, steadily re-engaging with society. Of course, there are still restrictions in place, with even the suggestion that face masks may be around for many months if not years to come, but as schools close for the Easter term break, Wales is beginning to reopen. It will be several more weeks before the borders open alas and in the meantime Welsh families and friends get to explore and discover more and more of their beloved Country for themselves, but once the borders reopen, along with the airport Wales with all its charm and splendor will once again be ready to welcome not only fellow UK visitors, but European and International visitors also via the many direct and connecting routes. Restrictions or unfettered access or not, one thing visitors to Wales can be assured of is a warm welcome and there is no doubt that once you too have visited Wales you will vow to return and will not be able to wait to tell your friends and associates of your tremendous experience.
Croseo i Gymru
Lawrence Evans & Dorian True
Directors Fly 2 Wales Ltd