With our world flipped upside down a couple of simple questions should be on everyone’s mind about now. First, and foremost, what are we supposed to do with all the mixed signals being slung at us? And with new, and potentially more devastating mutations of COVID spreading, how can we report on anything but pandemic stories? For many in the media, just parroting the pitches of vested interests seems to be the lone strategy. We are in big trouble, and everybody needs to get with the program.
I was scanning the newswires this morning, as usual, looking for the most pertinent news to share with my readers when the “strategy” issue hit me like a brick. Take a look at International Publications Ltd’s Greek Travel Pages (GTP) headlines, to get a feel for what I am talking about here. Here is the synops from today’s front page.
- At the top – “Phocuswright: European Travelers Already Planning Future Trips – Good News for Greece ” – This is the prelude to a WTF, mucky conflagration of misleading mumbo jumbo. Where is the great news with COVID running amok still?
- Then we have – “SETE Chief Sees 2021 Greek Tourism Revenue Coming to €10bn” – Now the casual reader is thinking “Yippekaya, time to invest in Greece!” I guess Yiannis Retsos is just doing his job, though. I mean, how do you mention Omicron and winter travel choices to Greece in the same news story without warning people to stay the hell at home?
- Following the positive fantasy, we get – “Greece Extends Covid-19 Rules for Travelers from Abroad.” – Okay, wait a minute now, are we traveling to Athens for Christmas, or not?” By the way, this is probably the only news story that should be read on GTP or any other travel media outlet.
Then the headlines bounce back and forth between marketing bullshit from Accor, to the IATA telling us booster shots may be a fixture for going anywhere. But the thing is, there’s no op-ed or discussion at GTP, Tornos, Travel Daily, Travel Weekly, or anywhere else. Look at TW, as a second example.
After I get through clicking on ads selling me trips, I get the Allianz survey telling me to go to Mexico, the WHO criticizing travel bans on account of Omicron, and a few news bits about companies canceling itineraries. I will tip my hat to Arnie Weissmann, for his candid opinion pieces, though. Of all the travel media outlets out there, Travel Weekly seems to be still carrying the banner of journalism.
The problem is marketing. With everybody from CNN to Reuters blasting the warning alerts over Omicron, the industry pundits are still just chugging along regurgitating or even evangelizing the market players and government mouthpieces. How the hell can this be? This pandemic is a major medical emergency first, and an economic devastator second. And this has been the problem from the onset.
We cannot just churn out press releases to get paid here. The mixed signals can get people dead. This is the bottom line, at the end of the day, where the metal meets the meat. In a crisis, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. There is no riding the fence. What will tip the balance in our favor? This is the question I ask myself every time I hit “post” on Argophilia. Maybe I make a mistake here, but somehow I don’t think so. I’m reading these industry “experts” as either blind mice or villainous manipulators, I cannot help myself. Encouraging signs? Where? A hotel stayed afloat, for a little while? If this new variant eradicated vaccine immunity because some official was bent toward a billionaire’s desires, how long will any business go on? How’s this for a headline at the top of all the travel pages?
Markets jolted as Moderna says COVID shots weaker against Omicron – Reuters
Look, here in Greece there are 1.5 times more new cases of COVID per DAY, than the total number the country had throughout the first wave. Over 6,000 people per day contract the virus, and Omicron is not even here yet. Moderna has said there’s a high probability COVID-19 vaccines will be less effective against the Omicron variant than they have been against the Delta variant. The World Health Organization said yesterday “the variant poses a “very high” global risk that could have “severe consequences” given that some of its mutations may sidestep immune protection and suggest greater transmissibility.”
Funny, I don’t see that headline for people traveling to or living in Greece. Has anybody started running the 2022 numbers for the whole world being infected by a mutation that cannot be prevented with a vaccine? Should we be alarmed? Or, are Greek officials really all that determined not to send children home, or to lock down the country? How many freaking dead people will flip the scales here? You tell me on Facebook or my other social shares of this story. Come on SETE, give me the day on that one. Get this, Japan just shut the country down to outside travelers folks! Isn’t that important news for everybody?
Oh, and for those editors out there upset by me pointing fingers, go on and hate me, it had to be said. Get off the fence. We can only beat this together, with one purpose, get it?