Well 2020 was quite a year!
As we crept through the early weeks of what turned out to be such a challenging annual in our history I guess most of us that have an affection for the island of Crete had our trip booked and the thought of the warm sun on our faces & wisps of Cretan air across our cheeks was pulling us through and towards the airport and that clement first step off of the aircraft onto Cretan soil.
Some of course still made it to Cretan shores during 2020 but for many (including us) our trip was booked for a time when travel was almost completely restricted and what ensued was a lengthy battle with tour companies and airlines to obtain a refund of the significant funds invested into visiting a place we hold dear in our hearts.
So as the curtain finally falls on the cloudy and uncertain year that was 2020 and with most of our plans for the previous year in tatters should we all be reaching for the laptop, tablet or phone and booking up to visit Crete in the coming year?
There can be no doubt that the year to come presents equal if not greater challenges than 2020. Of course we have vaccines roaring over the horizon and into view like a knight in shining armour on his trusty and proud white steed but we are not all just going to be afforded this jab right away, it's going to take time to vaccinate enough of the population to put an end to this nightmare and as such when making a booking to visit Crete yet again it could end in cancellation or disruption due to further waves or mutation of the virus and the subsequent travel restrictions.
Of course there were many who rather than looking for a refund for their 2020 holiday accepted a movement of their trip to the island of Crete to 2021 and all those who kept their investment into their trip intact will be hoping that this year's holiday does not go the same way as it did in 2020.
There is no simple answer to any of the above and sadly there is currently as little certainty in this new year as there was last. But there are some things that we do know.....
Firstly the Cretans need us. The island of Crete works to a seasonal calendar with the bulk of the tourist season operating between May and October and given that a very healthy proportion of the island's economy and employment revolves around tourism the winter is a time where the locals enjoy a rest from the manic summer months but at the same time often live off of the spoils of the summer season and by the time spring comes need that new injection of tourism to afford their finances a new and fresh injection of welcome income. What happened last year was what was sometimes referred to as a 'triple winter'. The winter closed season of 2019/2020 was followed by another 'winter' as the summer season of 2020 largely never happened and then drifted in an isolated silence into the winter of 2020/2021. There is no doubt that another 'winter' in the form of summer 2021 would be catastrophic for both the Cretan and wider Greek economy, however their opening up later than usual in the summer of 2020 (for economic reasons) lead to the inevitable delivery of the virus both to Crete and wider Greece, and whilst the levels of infection have never reached the frightening heights of other territories a level of protection toward the Cretan health system must be preserved due to it's limited capabilities.