There Is Only One Thing We Can Do – Change

By Jack Johnson, Destinations International

In the past year, I have written about how I hate the phrase “the new normal." As I have pointed out, many words can be used to describe what we are living through, but this moment in time is anything but normal. I have also written about the feeling of numbness and detachment that has accompanied the increase in the number of dead as a result of the pandemic. As the toll of those who have been infected, those who have become sick and those who lost their lives continues to rise it will take a conscious effort by each one of us to appreciate what is happening. To understand that each number represents an individual person. And each individual person has family and friends who are individual people.

This past week, those of us living in the United States was informed that life expectancy dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the first half of last year, that was 77.8 years for Americans overall, down one year from 78.8 in 2019. For males, it was 75.1 years and for females, 80.5 years. For context, you would need to go back to the 1940s to find a decline like this – a result of World War II.

It is easy to assign blame to all of us.  Not enough use of masks, handwashing, physical distancing, and early reliance by many on drugs such as hydroxychloroquine which turned out to be worthless. It is a lesson for going forward but at this point, it does not change what has happened. The lives are lost. Others are impacted for the rest of theirs.

Seems to me that there is only one thing we can do – change. Otherwise, those who have died will have died in vain.

And what is that change? For that, we go back to the Tourism Lexicon and some of the most powerful words on the list.

  • Community - A group of people living in the same place or having a characteristic in common; a feeling of fellowship with others, because of sharing common attitudes, interests, values, and goals; residents of a destination.
  • People - Human beings considered collectively; the men, women, and children of a nation, community, or ethnic group; a group of people inhabiting an area or place; the people within a destination.
  • Need - To require something because it is essential or very important; a thing that is wanted or required.
  • Help - To make it easier for someone to do something by offering one's services or resources; the action of helping someone to do something; to aid.
  • Support - To bear all or part of the weight of; hold up, give assistance to; enable to function; material assistance.
  • Care - The provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or someplace; serious attention applied to doing something correctly; look after and provide for the needs of.

Our community, our people need help, support, and care. It really is just that simple. And it is what makes you valued in your community.  Makes you a community asset.

It makes you a community shared value.

About the Author

Jack Johnson headshot
Jack Johnson
Chief Advocacy Officer
Destinations International
Jack manages the overall public policy operations at Destinations International including member advocacy education and training, development of destination tools and best practices, coalition work with peer organizations, industry research and related public affairs activities. Currently, his work around positioning destination organizations as a shared value in each of their communities and speaking with a new lexicon based on the emotion-driven by those values has made him one of the leading voices of the travel industry.