Let’s start with a big mea culpa: My blogpost of 1 February could not have been more wrong! Hire the team as battlefield tour guides, not as infectious disease specialists. To be fair, when I wrote the post, a CNN article listed only “140 confirmed cases–but no deaths–in more than 20 countries outside of China.” What I did not fully understand at that time was: 1) the virus’ ability to spread rapidly and 2) the sometimes reactive / sometimes proactive actions governments would take–independent of their neighbors–to flatten the curve and prevent an overload of their healthcare system.
So, I got Knee Deep’s website up and running in late January, ready to sign up and fill the three tours we were offering in our inaugural season. Shortly thereafter, the news was growing dimmer, countries were shutting borders and imposing travel restrictions, and the financial markets were dropping. Not an environment for a successful tour season.
As a result, we have cancelled all 2020 season tours. We believe that it is simply too questionable to try to move the schedule back by a few months this year. At the time of this writing, nobody knows when and how the various states and countries will lift travel restrictions. Even if they are lifted soon, will Americans be willing to board airplanes and travel internationally, knowing that one bad outbreak could lead to restrictions again? Keeping clients safe and getting them back home could be impossible under these circumstances.
So, we look toward the future and we are planning our 2021 schedule. However, we know we are using a crystal ball that has been shattered. Will effective vaccines be developed quickly? Will another wave of the disease lead to renewed travel disruptions / restrictions? These questions are unanswerable at this time. All we can say is stay tuned. We will have our 2021 schedule up soon, but we will all have to monitor and react to events as they occur in 2021. Said another way, none of us know what the “new normal” will be.
In the meantime, I will get over my initial anger and frustration and begin to post regular, perhaps weekly, comments about travel tips, sites in Europe, etc. Perhaps before too long we can get knee deep into history again–and not in a virtual manner! Let’s be ready when the opportunity comes.
#kneedeepintohistory #meuseargonne #ww1tours #ww2tours #battlefieldtours