Going Nowhere Fast

Worldometer

Sick and tired of the pandemic? The world is over COVID-19. People are done with lockdowns, with physical distancing, with a substandard quality of life.

An industry that has taken one of the hardest hits is tourism. By April of this year, “the financial impact of Covid-19 on world tourism … resulted in a total revenue loss of $195 billion worldwide.”

Several months later, in August, the United Nations released a policy brief predicting that “the pandemic will cost the tourism industry approximately $1 trillion in losses and threaten more than 100 million jobs worldwide.”

The United States of America is expected to take the brunt of the blow; according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the most powerful nation in the world “is set to lose $155 billion in 2020.”


Creature Comforts

So, what has a worn and weary population decided to do about these dismal tidings? Well, it appears as if people are not going down without a fight: They’re turning their focus to the much-pummeled travel sector, in particular a novelty growing in popularity—“flights to nowhere.”

These coronavirus-approved excursions provide the delights of tourism without having to manage the sticky issue of crossing international borders. They are advertised as sightseeing tours, flights that simply take off from an airport, pass over one or several popular locations, and land back down at the same airport. And people can’t get enough of them.

Though these types of flights have been around for over two decades, it was not until the devastating effects of the pandemic that more airlines began to look to the atypical adventure as a tangible source of revenue. Asian airlines were the first to jump on board.

Tigerair Taiwan sold out its “flight to nowhere,” which featured a glimpse of Jeju Island in South Korea, in only four minutes. Now, Qantas is joining the club. Its “seven-hour scenic flight over Australia’s Outback and Great Barrier Reef” sold all 134 seats in 10 minutes. “It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” a spokeswoman for the airline claimed. But that’s not all. People are also willing to spend. The Qantas seats sold at a range of $575 to $2,765.

Perhaps Americans will decide to take a leaf out of this book. According to the Passport Index, a digital platform that ranks the passports of the countries belonging to the United Nations, the United States has dropped drastically in the power scale since the pandemic hit. It currently sits at 21st place, tied with Malaysia. Pre-COVID-19, it was easily in the top 10. A country’s rank is rated by its mobility score, which gauges how many other countries allow a citizen of that country access within its borders. What with the current uptick in U.S. coronavirus cases, the future of our frequent flyers looks bleak.

On October 9, “the United States reported 57,420 new cases of coronavirus, … the highest daily totals since mid-August.” And according to Reuters, “Nineteen states have seen record increases in new cases so far in October.”

Also on October 9, “seven states … reported record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.” And Worldometer numbers for the United States has the nation at nearly eight million cases of coronavirus, the most in the world.


A Flight to Somewhere

What do you turn to when you are taxed beyond your limit? What are you willing to risk or spend or rationalize when you are at your breaking point?

For some, it’s dropping a couple thousand for a few hours of cabin fever and the simulated excitement of pressing one’s face against a tiny porthole, imagining oneself afoot on the exotic lands miles below. For others, it might be an entirely different creature comfort.

But what happens after the flight ends? What happens after the show is over or the party has ended? Do you simply go back to the grind, every day just trying to survive in a coronavirus state of mind?

We’d like to propose a better solution. What about seeking the Great Physician instead?

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you” (Psalm 50:15), declares the Lord. When disaster strikes, let this be the cry of our heart: “You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5).

This does not mean that life will be easy. It does not mean that the pandemic will cease to exist. But like Noah in the ark, like the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace and Joseph in his lonely prison cell, place your trust in the Savior of souls. His is a salvation that lasts for eternity.

Amidst pain, God is there: “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart. And saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). In unknowns, God is there: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). When you think all hope is lost, may this remind you otherwise: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

Do you want to know more about holding fast to faith in a fearful world? Watch our free, online video, “Divine Provision for Anxiety.”

And for any globetrotters out there, take a look at our Amazing Facts Study Guide, “A Colossal City in Space.” You can go “nowhere”; lots will probably do it. But perhaps you would be more interested in another destination—the heavenly country.

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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