If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the place. Muskoka, Canada – cottage country and then some. It’s a few hours north of Toronto. It’s beyond beautiful with more trees and lakes than you can imagine. A fantastic place for a vacation or weekend in the summer. Muskoka in the Fall, when the leaves change colour, is gorgeous. If you like snow and ice (ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating, snowmobiling) then you would like it here in the winter too. It’s well worth it to travel to Muskoka.
The District of Muskoka is bigger than the state of Rhode Island and contains more than 1,600 lakes. It’s also the home to 7 Provincial Parks and the world famous Algonquin Park for campers. 20 golf courses and top resorts like Taboo, Deerhurst, Grandview, Clevelands House, and JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort.
It’s been the place to go for the well heeled for many years. Tourists flock here from Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world to see Muskoka’s natural beauty. Many Torontonians, some Americans and others have cottages, chalets and/or country homes here. Bryan Adams, Goldie Hawn, Martin Short, pro hockey players and more own some of the more fabulous summer homes. My sister (not famous) has owned a regular cottage for years. My brother-in-law owns a float plane and will fly off their lake to buy butter tarts and chelsea buns.
Here’s a chance to take a quick ride on a ski boat in Muskoka:
The Aura of Muskoka
There’s a few places that have an aura about them in Muskoka. Bigwin Island in Lake of Bays. Now a private island with club and full 18 hole top rated golf course. (As a world golfer, I can tell you that the 18th hole is one of the prettiest in all the world. The longest hole on the course, it sweeps down to the right from an elevated tee towards the lake and clubhouse). Years ago, Bigwin played host to big bands like Tommy Dorsey, Count Basey and others at the Pavilion.
The “Kee to Bala” Bar, located on Lake Muskoka, dates back to 1930 but still has musical acts performing. The Ramones, Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Burton Cummings and many more have played here. Mix in some great bakeries, diners and burger joints through the area and traditions stay strong. It’s the longed for Muskoka cottage lifestyle that keeps them coming back.
If there is one thing that we can say about COVID-19, it’s that it is going to have a major impact on our society. From the economic repercussions of people being limited to work from home to the social impact of physical distancing and, in some cases, mandatory quarantine. But, as one of the major aspects of coronavirus is the outright ban on travel, we are going to take a more in-depth look into the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry.
How to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry?
Let’s first take into account the travel measures that various governments have instated in order to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, international travel is still practically non-existent. The little international travel that is happening is for shipping medical supplies and for people returning home after living abroad. Intrastate travel is also brought down to a minimum. People can travel between cities, but they have a limited time window for doing so. Alongside that, most countries still advocate for social distancing and for staying at home. Overall travel, and the travel industry with it, has been brought down to a record low.
Since this scenario has been going on for a while, multimode countries are considering lifting certain travel bans. This is due to the slowing down of coronavirus, and due to a large number of people not being able to work for over a month. So, while these measures should boost the travel industry a bit, at least at the local level, we shouldn’t put to much hope into them. If we are not careful, COVID-19 can come back with a vengeance. And if this happens, all of the lockdown measures for travel will be reinstated.
Impact on tourism
The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry is currently quite grim. Most of the summer vacation reservations have either been canceled or rescheduled for late summer or early fall. Empty beaches, vacant hotels, and barren tourist areas will be a trend in the summer of 2020. Therefore, during the months that are usually busiest, people working in tourism will see little to no income. Certain countries have some tourist allure during winter months, but most are reliant on summer tourism. This can be a big problem as certain countries depend on international tourism for a large part of their yearly income. Some of them are:
These counties have a significant percentage of their GDP based on tourism. How this will hit their economy is hard to tell. After all, global pandemics are not a common occurrence, which is why their full effect is hard to predict. But, if there is one thing we can say for sure, it’s that these countries will feel the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry for years to come.
Local tourism, on the other hand, is expected to pick up a bit. Even though we are able to practice exercise and similar activities at home, people are pretty much sick with staying indoors. Therefore, if countries continue to lower intrastate travel bans, local tourism should see a significant increase. Local tourism can provide an easy way for countries to keep their tourist agencies afloat, and to keep the risk of further spread of coronavirus to a minimum. Therefore, if there are no significant increases in the spread of COVID-19, local travel and tourism should pick up. In fact, considering that few people are going to travel abroad, local tourism may even yield some record numbers.
The key part of the travel industry is transportation services. Therefore, if we are going to have a clear idea of the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry, we need to take these services into account. The first thing to note is that most airline companies are asking for government aid. The month of practically no airline travel has put even the best airline companies in quite a difficult situation. If the airline travel ban lasts, we should expect the need for government bailouts in order to keep airline companies operational.
Bus transport services have been hit hard, but apparently not as hard as airline companies. Most of the buscompanies that provide tours and transportation for tourists are in trouble, to say the least. They might be able to bring in much-needed revenue if local tourism picks up, but even this is only a lifeline. And it is far from what these companies would normally make during this time of year.
A similar case is with taxi services. With COVID-19 going about, people have been using taxis at a record low rate. Add to that the fact that a large number of taxi drivers depend on driving tourists, and you will soon see how difficult the situation is. Again, if we start returning to a normal lifestyle, taxi services should come back. But, just like bus companies, they won’t earn nearly as much as they normally would.
All things considered, commercial transport has experienced the smallest impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry. Companies that provide both commercial transport and industrial shipping should be in a much better situation than companies that only provide commercial transport. The only limitation for shipping is that companies have to adhere to certain health standards. Apart from that, they are able to pretty much do their business as usual.
Medical relief shipping
The biggest change for transportation companies comes from the need for medical relief shipping. Countries are trying their best to keep their hospitals properly stocked for combating COVID-19. This often requires international shipping of medical supplies on a much larger scale. This is why a lot of shipping companies are providing their services for medical relief. Therefore, if the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t end soon, we should see a substantial number of companies turn towards the shipping of medical equipment.
I started skiing at the age of 6 and I’m now well above 50. My first boots had laces; my skis had screw-in edges and ski straps; my poles had leather strap baskets. A lot has changed since then – and thankfully.
If you are well under 50, you may be thinking, “this has nothing to do with me,” but it will at some point. You will hit the magical age of 50.
If you are indeed over 50, the fork in the road may be “you do ski” or “you would like to ski”. Either way, read on. Here are my 4 tips for skiing over 50:
1. Get Modern
Above, I described my first set of ski gear. When I’m at the hill, I still see people in purple ski suits (from the 70s), rear-entry boots and 200 cm. skis. Now “Throwback Thursdays” are one thing, but… modern ski clothing provides warmth, durability and weather resistance.
Ski technology makes skiing easier (if you are old enough, think “before parabolic skis”). Get into your local ski equipment shop and talk to an experienced professional. They’ll fit you for boots (literally) and set you up with the best pair of skis for you based on your ability, normal terrain and your budget.
As a Ski Patroller, and someone who is over 50, I ski all day. It’s a given that I’ll be tired the next day (as I am today) but you need to have enough stamina during the ski day to enjoy your time on the slopes (be it a half day, full day or ski vacation).
Skiing is great exercise and requires at least some strength and flexibility. As you get older, it gets much tougher to get up if you fall. But it’s tougher still to get up if you aren’t in shape.
3. Get Lessons
It’s never too late to learn to ski. Lessons are an absolute necessity if you are learning to ski at any age. A professional ski instructor will make learning to ski fun and help you to master the basics and stay safe. You’ll enjoy yourself and look forward to a good time on the slopes.
Even if you have skied for a while, or are coming back to skiing, a “tune up” lesson, clinic or program is a great way to re-start and improve your skills.
4. Get Out There
The “over 50” market is a big one and a growing one for the ski industry. Websites, equipment, clothing, lessons and more are all geared to “north of 50”. There are “over 50” ski clubs and groups (regular clubs, clubs for singles, seniors clubs) to ski in a group and socialize afterwards. There are “over 50” ski holidays offered by some ski clubs and ski tour operators. Liftopia has you covered for great deals on lift tickets when you buy in advance and if you are over 65, they have senior prices too. There are no excuses!
Ski at your own pace and on the terrain that you feel most comfortable on. If you skied when you were young, the exhilarating mogul runs and double black diamonds may now be a thing of the past. But you can still have a great day of fresh winter air, physical exercise and great skiing. When you get tired, simply call it a day. Go back to the ski lodge, get a hot drink and sit by the fireplace to warm up. There’s always tomorrow…