Putting Asian Journeys in Hibernation
(Cover images: These two covers options were ones that we had considered using, but didn't.)
(April 27, 2020 Singapore) It was with great reluctance that I put Asian Journeys into hibernation until we are once again able to travel. I'm sure that if we can survive the cancellation of some of the world's great sporting and cultural events we can survive without a few issues of Asian Journeys.
There were a number of a reasons I wanted to publish it, but the most compelling came in the early days of March when we could move around quite freely, and most businesses were still open. I accidently walked into the wrong office. It was a co-working space and I began talking to the young receptionist. I gave her a magazine and she replied. “Oh great! This is exactly what I need, when I can’t go travelling, I can dream about places to go.”
I wanted to continue to provide dreams for people to indulge in. We all need hope. We need to feel that this will be over some day and we will be able to party like it is 2021 and we can go where we want to, when we want to.
My millennial niece Nesh, locked down in Canada, wrote to me: “Partying like it’s 2021 will be my new mantra. Once there’s a vaccine, I want to do a reverse quarantine and not come home for months. I want to drink alcohol out of buckets in Thailand, and then pretend I’m classy by drinking pretentious French wine in Nice. That’s my plan.”
Nice. It’s always a good idea to have a game plan.
I was considering publishing Asian Journeys even though I had no advertisers. Nobody wanted to advertise then – and as of writing they still don’t. I’ve got some really great stories for the next issue – fresh air experiences in Sabah – self-drive in Western Australia, which is a great piece with excellent photos by my buddy Steve Collins. My regular contributors have done their usual stellar job of producing compelling content that will be published in the coming issue.
But then as restrictions tightened in Singapore another reason for not publishing arose. Asian Journeys' main mode of distribution is through lounges in 5-star hotels, the business lounges in Changi Airport, doctor and dental clinics, waiting rooms in hospitals, hairdressers, nail spas and cafes throughout the island. Places where people have the time to read. When these closed or became restricted there was even less reason to publish a print publication. And in a pandemic that spreads through human contact, who wants to pick up a magazine that is handled by the general public? So, not only was our revenue cut off, but so too was our means of distribution.
What wasn’t cut off – though it was affected – was content. A number of our contributors wrote offering stories. One reason was that they wanted to keep busy while under lockdown – and they want to keep visible.
When will Asian Journeys come out of hibernation? When people can travel again, and advertisers are willing to advertise. I think destinations will slowly open around the world. South Korea is up and running. Domestic flights are full. Australia is relaxing movement restrictions. When countries are willing to allow recreational travellers from outside their borders the industry will slowly begin to move again. Those who can prove they are virus free and are willing to pay the money will have their bags packed, their ticket purchased, and they will quickly be on the next flight to wherever.
The travel industry will rise from the ashes. It will be a slow and uneven unwinding, but it will happen.
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