Today we say goodbye to 2020, the year we never thought to live. The one that promised us so much in January; which began to become quite “strange” in February, and that in March locked us all at home, without time to assimilate.
Suddenly, we had to cancel our attendance to the ITB Trade Show in Berlin, to the commercial mission in Australia, and most of our professional commitments for 2020 began to fall apart. The doors of our office were closed, and we had to quickly adapt ourselves to a new reality: working from home.
These were tough weeks, and our lives became an emotional roller coaster. We had to face an unexpected uncertainty, which initially left us speechless, holding the hard blow as best we could. But we soon assimilated that the reality that was drawn, was very different from the one promised back in January. There was no other choice but to reinvent ourselves. Get up after the steep fall, and dedicate our time to those jobs that normally remain in the background due to the urgency of everyday routines. To improve our service, to create new products, to provide new content for our community … Or, simply, to entertain ourselves and try to entertain you as much as we could, during the quarantine (that seemed to have no end!).
We devoted these months to live the Camino from Home, to remember everything we had experienced on the way. To reconnect with all our fellow pilgrims, recall all those experiences that were so far away. To try to elucidate how the future of the tourism industry would be, after the Coronavirus.
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June came, and it seemed that things were struggling (in fits and starts) to get back into place. To offer us again that “normality” that we so longed for. Little by little we were able to breathe the fresh air again, go outside. Step by step, without haste, but without pause.
The hoteliers wanted to reopen their doors, the cooks to light the stoves, the transporters to start their vehicles, the guides to accompany us … and, of course, the pilgrims wanted to return to the Camino. And it seems that they almost succeeded, because in July and August, despite the masks, the hydroalcoholic gel and the bad omens, the road was once again walked by those people who give it life, and who make it a unique place.
And we were the first to set out on the road, to show that it was still the safest trip, even in times of pandemic. Chiara traveled the French Way in July, and she shared all her experience live on our social networks. Upon her return, she told us about everything she had experienced, creating content highly valued by users, about the Camino de Santiago in times of COVID.
Our summer was an oasis of hope, which little by little was clouded by a word that began to become very present: resurgence of the COVID-19 (rebrotes in Spanish). It seemed that the virus was fighting back, and with it the bad news was back for everyone, and for the tourism sector in particular. Despite the difficulties to travel, something that made us so excited, we did not lose heart. We stop to think about everything that our land has to offer, what, and for whom. This way, new ideas emerged (that we are very proud of), and we began to work on them.
We created new trips and experiences in Galicia, designed to discover other aspects of our beautiful region. Gastronomic routes, wine, relaxation in the hot springs, the Father Sarmiento Route … In addition, since November the Galiwonders website is also available in French! We are a small company, and we are proud to offer quality content about Galicia and the Camino de Santiago, now in four languages: Spanish, English, Italian and French. Perhaps that is why our team has been awarded with the SICTED seal, Tourist Quality Destination. One of the good news that 2020 brought us!
This year things have not gone as we expected in number of travelers, but we know that those of you who have decided to do the Camino de Santiago in 2020 have really enjoyed the experience. The good words and empathy we have received from our clients this year have been unmatched, and this is always a source of pride for our team.
I cannot finish this letter without an immense THANK YOU, because without your love, gratitude, and encouragement, it would have been even more difficult. I really hope that in 2021 we continue to have such an attentive and respectful community; and, of course, that we are back on the way, to experience unforgettable moments. May we travel again, to discover new places, to know the Way and to know ourselves on it. To experience all the magic and beauty of Galicia region, and everything that its culture, history, traditions have to offer … And, even more, in this special year that is approaching, the 2021 Holy Jacobean Year.
¡Buen Camino! ¡Buen 2021!
Sabela Ruiz Gippini, CEO of Galiwonders.com