The Great-Grandparents Messed Up Our Holidays

This article is based upon a Report for the WWF-UK, called “Climate Change and its impact on Tourism” written by David Viner and Maureen Agnew from the University of East Anglia, Norwich in July 1999.

The idea of Murmansk, however, was a product of my fertile mind and has no basis in fact; it just made for a pleasant ending.

August 20th 2021 Derek Moore, AITO Deputy Chairman

“OK, I’ve plugged the electric in so we can drive to a restaurant tonight”, said Charles, as he settled down after a long day at work in the office in the back bedroom. “Time for a glass of wine,” suggested Carrie, pouring without waiting for an answer. ”I nipped out to get a bottle; that’s why I was late back. Traffic was held up because a cow had escaped and wandered into the road. It did look rather tempting I must admit, I wish the government hadn’t banned us from eating meat.”

Charles smiled, “Well, whilst we sip, let’s try to finally crack where we are going on holiday this year.”

The pair were sitting in the kitchen of their house on the coast just outside Peterborough, and both were eager to get abroad this year. As Carrie opened up a couple of maps, Charles took a first sip, and said, “You know, talking of holidays, I was reading a book the other day that said people once used to go trekking down in Morocco, spend days on expeditions in the Sahara, sunbathe on the south coast of Spain, ski in Central Europe, and cruise ships could only touch the edges of the Antarctic because of the ice. Can you believe that?! How things have changed.”

“Yes, well,” Carrie muttered, ”I guess our great Grandparents really messed up our holiday options when they laughed at Climate Change. If only they had heeded all the warnings back in the 2020s, and tried to do something about climate change then – “ Charlie interrupted, “Well they didn’t so we are where we are and we’ll just have to cope.”

So let’s get back to reality.” he continued, grabbing a pen and paper. “Let’s look at our options.”

“Do we just want a sun sea and sand, fly and flop holiday? Well, we could look at somewhere on the south coast of Finland. Just a fly-and-flop holiday. Except that would be a ‘train, ferry and train then flop’ holiday since they have banned flights anywhere within Europe.”

“That’s a bit boring I reckon.” Carrie said. “When you think back to when we lazed on the beaches in the Maldives when they still operated a fortnightly flight there – that was marvellous. Such a shame the Maldives sunk below the waves. And anyway,” she continued, “they say that now Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia are all now starting to suffer from over-tourism, just like Venice did before it sunk.”

“Well, many of the places we fancy are probably going to end up over-visited,” Charles pointed out. “I read a couple of stats the other day. In the year 2000 international tourist arrivals were about 702 million per year. Recently the figure was 1600 million. That doesn’t leave a lot of room anywhere. If they do bring in a requirement for a permit to visit anywhere abroad, so that holidays are rationed, – then that might help, but at the moment I reckon most people think they have a right to travel wherever and whenever they want.”

Well, if you want something a bit more different,” said Charlie “then how about an Antarctic cruise? Now that the ice has mostly gone and ships can dock at the pier beside the new resort, actually at the South Pole, it could be quite exciting.”

“Well wait a minute, let’s look closer to home first” Carrie suggested. “Is there anywhere in Europe that appeals?” That brought a frown from Charles, “Remember that means we have to go in either May or September as July and August are just too hot to survive nowadays.”

“Is Spain definitely out?” Charles queried. Carrie was not impressed: “Well remember how depressing Andalucia looks, with all those impoverished coastal resorts that used to be full of tourists, and don’t forget that now the south coast is a malaria region with all those mosquitoes, it’s hardly going to be relaxing. And anyway, I’ve never had a soft spot for that area since the forest fires burned down our holiday home.”

“Point made,” agreed Carrie. “Who goes there, or to Italy or Mexico these days? OK, how about skiing? There are still one of two resorts high enough in the Alps to allow some skiing. that’s probably the nearest skiing we’ll get now that Scotland has lost its skiing.”

“Greece or Turkey?” came from Charles. “You’ve been reading the history books,” Carrie retorted, “They are both far too hot nowadays. Although maybe in May or September…”

As the level in the bottle went down, the aspirations went up. Briefly. “What about further afield?” said Charles. “There are still a few flights every week to East Africa; we could look at Kenya or Tanzania.” Carrie shook her head, “I’m just not sure where we would need to go. The climate change affected where the animals want to go and has played havoc with which reserves are worth visiting.”

Charles put down his glass. “OK, we’ve considered the mass market beaches, skiing, exotic wildlife destinations. I am not sure what’s left, so we – “ “Hold it, ”interrupted Carrie, “ I’ve found something online that might be different enough, but we should go as soon as we can, before it gets over-run.”

“Surprise me,” Charlie retorted.”

There’s a weekly flight from London East Midlands – remember there are no new flights from London Heathrow since they are still debating the merits of a third runway –  to Murmansk, in the far north of Russia. It’s not too cold there anymore, just pleasantly hot, there’s trekking, skiing and other activities, and the current Russian President Putin, Vladimir Putin’s grandson, is encouraging tourism development there.”

“OK, let’s do it,” Charles said. “I’ll start trying to book a flight, some transfers, a hotel, some trekking and see if I can tie them all together.”

“Mmm,” commented Carrie, ”I wish we could find someone who would put all the parts of the holiday together into what I suppose they could call a package. It would save us all the trouble and if we got into any problems then they could help us out”.

“There used to be people like that,” retorted Charles,” and they were called tour operators and travel agents. But they got wiped out by the government back in the 2020s. Shame.”

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