John Lennon once asked “So this is Christmas, and what have you done,” but there seems no need in asking that question this year as I already pretty much know what you’ve been doing. And then he added “Another year over, a new one just begun.” Thank God for that! Good riddance 2020 and don’t come again.
I had intended to write a “look back” at 2020, but there really doesn’t seem much point. And quite frankly who wants to read about last year anyway, let’s just put 2020 into the Span folder. So instead let’s look forward and not back, which is generally my policy anyway. ““Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better,” once wrote William Blake.
I don’t want to tempt fate but could 2021 be worse than the 12 months we’ve just passed through. How strange it’s going to be able to mingle, drink coffee with friends (and not from a paper cup), travel, work, go to concerts and not have to greet someone with an extended elbow when this is all over. And to quote my favourite serial ever, “This time next year we’re going to millionaires.” And it will probably feel like we’ve all won the lottery. To be able to once again see tourists in Dubrovnik, even though a year off has been a nice break, but enough is enough.
I’ve just given an interview for an American newspaper who asked what tourism would look like in Dubrovnik in 2021. “I predict that tourism number will double next year, so from around 20 percent of 2019’s figures to around 40 percent. However, on the financial front earnings will not follow, and I expect them to be 10 percent lower than the actual tourism numbers. There will be dumping,” I commented.
For all the info I have collected I think that’s reasonable. That might sound low but it’s double this year, which is the beginning of the long road back to normality. As I have seen travel agents in the UK offering package week-long holidays for five-star hotels in Dubrovnik for under £600 including return flights and airport transfers it is clear that dumping will happen. And when asked if I thought travellers would actually have money to spend on holidays I answered, “You have to realise that even though economies are tight there are millions of people who have been locked down for months and unable to spend money going out, shopping, to restaurants, pubs, etc, etc. They need a holiday more than anything else now.”
And I can see speaking to my friends and family in the UK that they are chomping at the bit to go on holiday. There is a wave of optimism that I haven’t seen since it all began, and as the UK is Dubrovnik’s biggest market we should also be quietly optimistic. Slowly and surely should be the key words. Christmas is here. If that doesn’t give us hope, then nothing will.
And just to illustrate how desperate the Brits are to travel my family have already booked our Christmas vacation for 2021! In fact, they booked it weeks ago. The whole extended family, yes Christmas lunch will look like the table on Stradun during the Good Food Festival, will be together next Christmas. All booked and paid for, only a year to wait. And just to confirm how much the Brits want a holiday we contacted five other large holiday rentals before finding one that wasn’t already reserved for Christmas 2021!
The meaning of the title of the Wham classic “Last Christmas” now have a different meaning. It’s out last Christmas locked in our homes, our last Christmas without being able to travel, our last Christmas being socially dysfunctional and our last Christmas of thinking exclusively about one thing. On a personal note I can’t bloody wait until I can stop writing about the pandemic on my website and start concentrating on something rosier. Although it has been important to keep our guests, and potential guests, informed on all the Covid-19 info it is draining.
So let’s all raise a glass for Christmas and a prosperous and productive 2021. The only way is up!
Merry Christmas to you all!!