What will 2021 herald for Turf Bog Tours? With no tours operated during 2020 we are now watching with interest how the Covid19 vaccine will be rolled out and how we can all possibly transition back to something near normal life. Due to the Pandemic, our tour business has generated zero income in 2020. Fortunately we were able to fall back on our online sales of turf to generate income. Luckily we had that previous experience and the ability to kickstart that side of the business.
Transition is the key word though. For tourism operations such as Turf Bog Tours we are very reliant on overseas visitors. Not surprisingly 75% of tourism in Ireland is down to overseas visitors. In the case of Turf Bog Tours our key markets are visitors from the USA and mainland Europe. So whilst hopefully the global pandemic and its impacts are greatly reduced in 2021 I believe that the number of international visitors to Ireland will not return to 2019 levels until the middle of this decade at the earliest.
Then on a human wellbeing level, will people opt to stay more local for their holidays and short breaks – is the staycation the new norm? Will the French keep it local and forsake Ireland for the Alps or the Pyrenees? Will people think twice about hopping on a plane? What are the impacts on both short haul and long haul flights? There are so many unknowns.
We are keeping in contact with tour operators such as our good friend Pascal at Une Bouffee D’Eire to see how business levels return for him. That will give us a good indicator to see how European markets start the recovery process.
Then there are are other economic factors to consider in this recovery. How quickly will international economies recover? At this stage no one really knows the long term impact of the Pandemic on unemployment numbers. The installation of a new President of the United States, step forward Joe Biden who is proud of his Irish ancestry, and its impacts will be of interest this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Likewise how the fiasco that is Brexit ends up could have impacts on N. Ireland and adjoining counties in the Republic.
For now, it is all a waiting game. The fingers (and toes) are crossed for the resumption of Turf Bog Tours.