The Economist: Special report

Special report

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Well travelled

VENETIANS CAN be credited with one significant intervention in the history of travel and one near miss. Disgruntlement over the constant din led them to consider a ban on wheelie-bags in Venice’s alleyways in 2014, though it was never enacted. Seven centuries earlier the city pioneered the use of international borders to stop an infectious disease....

No heads in the clouds

ECONOMY PASSENGERS taking one of the few international flights still running have had an unusually pleasant experience of late. Exasperated cabin crew battling to close overhead lockers full to bursting with wheelie-bags, duty-free booze and laptop cases have been replaced by masked attendants presiding over planes two-thirds full at best and often...

Emission days

SKIES CLEARED of much commercial aviation gave plenty of ammunition to those who see air-travel emissions as one of the gravest threats to the environment. Travel by commercial jet attracts more criticism than its 2-3% share of global carbon emissions seems to justify. Yet despite this seemingly modest contribution it is (or was, until covid-19 struck)...

Video-conferencing rules

BUSINESS TRAVEL is as old as the traders who carted silks and spices between ancient civilisations. The executive tapping at a laptop as other flyers recline their seats and settle down with a glass of wine is a more recent phenomenon. The physical movement of goods on ships and planes and the supply chains that underpin global manufacturing and services...

The age of the wheelie-bag

LUGGAGE UNPACKS how international travel has changed down the ages. Adventurers in the 15th-century age of discovery set sail in galleons loaded to the gunwales with supplies for voyages that might take years. Aristocrats on a “grand tour” in the 18th century trekked around Europe for months in horse-drawn carriages packed with trunks, servants and...

Faster, higher, longer

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL is sure to recover, not least because its benefits have long been appreciated. “Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind,” is a quote attributed to Seneca, a first-century Roman philosopher of the Stoic school. That is as true of the relaxation of a package trip to the seaside or a trek in the Himalayas as it is...

The holiday only just began

IT IS AN unfortunate fact that the ease of throwing things into a wheelie-bag and travelling far and wide helped spread covid-19 around the world. The effects on leisure travel and destinations that rely on tourism will be felt for years to come. But just as the way we travel may improve as a result, so the chance for countries to rethink tourism industries...

High flyers

CORPORATE JETS are emerging from covid-19 in better shape than commercial ones. Bosses of big companies and the super-rich have long relied on owning or chartering their own small jets. As Jim Currier of Honeywell, a conglomerate, points out, business aviation suffered as much as commercial airlines at the start of the pandemic, but recovery has been...

Sources and acknowledgments

Books: “A History of Modern Tourism“, Eric G. E. Zuelow, Palgrave,  2016 Articles and papers: International Tourism Highlights, UNWTO, 2020 World Tourism Barometer, UNWTO, Dec 2020 Aviation Strategy, Issue 257, Oct/Nov 2020 Travel: Big Questions with UBS Experts,  UBS,  October 2020 Covid-19 and Tourism: Assessing the Economic Consequences,...

Sources and acknowledgments

In addition to the young people who spoke on the basis of anonymity, the author would like to thank: Alec Ash; Bai Shuang; Cheng Dongliang; Cong Yan; Dong Jianfa; Fang Kecheng; Feng Chucheng; Eric Fish; Geriler, in Beijing; Guo Jing; Guo Xiaochan; Grace Gu; Hubery Huang; Matthew Huang; Huang Yanning; Liu Kaiyun; Liang Cuicui; Lin Meizi; Lin Shuang;...

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