2020 has been a year full of surprises and unexpected experiences and restrictions. All over the world people have had to adapt to a new lifestyle due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since then, so many aspects of day-to-day living including shopping habits, private events and especially travel have changed drastically.
Though this may seem unlikely, even this world-wide pandemic has some silver linings. Even this global crisis has had some positive effects on the world. A lot of these effects are very clear when looking at the city of Venice, Italy.
There were few safe and sensible travel options this year, especially for people living in Europe. However, during the summer some countries opened their boarders for the holidays. A lot of people took this opportunity, but of course, the number of travelers was much smaller than usual. One of the pleasant side-effects that came of this, is the fact that there were much smaller crowds of people in and around some of the most famous tourist sights.
In Venice, there are usually masses of people on St. Mark’s Square including tourist groups, honeymooners, students on school trips and many more. This year, however, you could actually walk around freely and take your time when taking that perfect picture of the St. Mark’s Basilica. It was even possible to enjoy the view from the Rialto Bridge without having to rush out of the way for the 20 people behind you to get a look at the beautiful view.
All in all, travel and sight-seeing was a lot less rushed and crowded.
Better hygiene and awareness
In general, people are much more aware of their own hygiene and the effect this has on others since the spread of the virus. Washing hands more often, staying at home when you’re sick and regularly disinfecting commonly used surfaces could generally slow the spread of diseases such as the flu and the common cold. Especially when traveling to foreign countries, it is important to look after yourself and try your best to stay healthy. Packing a small bottle of disinfectant is always a good idea and making sure to wash your hands with soap regularly can be a big factor when stopping the spread of contagious diseases.
Since the pandemic, most industries have updated their hygiene concepts and are much stricter on following up on whether regulations are being followed. Restaurants and shops offer disinfectant upon entry, hotels and restaurants wash and replace commonly used surfaces more often and most places of work are also requesting employees wash their hands regularly.
Arguably the most significant area the travel restrictions have had an impact on, is the environment and natural surroundings in frequently travelled countries and cities. The restrictions have had a particularly positive affect on the air and water quality in regions such as China, the USA and Italy.
A large factor that has contributed to the better air quality is the fact that people have been driving around less due to the lockdown and curfew rules many countries have put in place. This has meant less carbon emissions in larger cities and generally less smog. Less cruise ships and the decline in demand for fish has meant less boats at sea and therefore less pollution of the water. The improved water quality is particularly noticeable in the canals of Venice. There have even been dolphin sightings in the area!
Visiting Venice and generally travelling in 2020 was certainly a unique experience and who knows what it’ll be like in 2021?! Will all the positive effects of COVID-19 immediately be reversed or even outweighed by mass travel? Will governments and environmental organisation put more safety measures in place to protect air and water quality? For now though, it helps to see at least some positive effects that the pandemic has had and not only focus on the bad.
To find out more and get a sneak peek at some of the best views and sights in and of Venice, visit our Ayo Venice web page!