What would you do if reality as you know it took a 180º turn?
Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.
How António Gavinho, the Founder & Chief Adventure Creator of Portugal Nature Trails, is managing the day to day life of his local Adventure and Nature Tourism company amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and his creative solutions to keep himself and his workers active, busy and motivated.
2020 is the year that everything changed in our lives, and the well-known culprit is still far from gone. The Travel Industry has been severely impacted by travel restrictions, fear of contamination, and financial uncertainty, so it’s fair to assume that the recovery path will be long. It’s hard to predict when the world will go back to normal, and even harder to tell when we can expect to achieve the fantastic results that 2020 was strongly promising.
Portugal Nature Trails is a local adventure and nature tourism company, providing hiking and cycling trips to travelers from all over the world. The great majority of PNT’s clients are from the USA and Canada, with also a fair chunk of visitors from the UK, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
Of the hundreds of booked tours for this year, almost all of them have been postponed or canceled, which leads to an income reduction of around 90%, and leaves a well-oiled team with close to nothing to do.
Instead of giving up or just waiting for the time to pass, Portugal Nature Trails has taken this opportunity to better itself in a lot of ways. Here is a brief look onto what we are doing:
Website improvements and new launches.
Along with the constant enhancements to Portugal Nature Trails’ website, with everything else on a halt, new launches for ongoing projects were possible, hence the new Morocco Nature Trails and Portugal Naturwege websites.
Tidying up the office and the mind.
Lots of tasks keep getting pushed over due to lack of time and now the time is abundant! The great majority of the team is working from home improving databases, work documents and minutely organizing everything. In the meanwhile, some brave team members have been tackling the physical office, and it has never looked better.
Promoting safe traveling during COVID-19.
What can be done to guarantee the safety and comfort of travelers, and to boost confidence in the services Portugal Nature Trails provides?
– Booking, postponement, and cancellation policies have been relaxed, to give flexibility to clients. Also, no price increases for 2021 help lessen the financial impact the pandemic has taken.
– Promoting self-guided trips as the safest and most in control traveling style, as clients will only travel with the persons they already know and have full freedom to move at their own pace and choose where and when to stop.
– Safe travels (by World Travel & Tourism Council) and Clean & Safe certifications, leading to the implementation of internal protocols to ensure the necessary measures to avoid risks of contagion and guarantee safe procedures for the operation of tourist activities.
– Read more on PNT’s COVID-19 measures here.
Developing new ideas.
A Portuguese proverb says that “to stop is to die”, and now that in Portugal the restrictions are slowly lifting, António Gavinho is back to cycling outside most mornings, and taking in the much-needed oxygen that fuels his creativity and new ideas.
Among many other puzzles to solve, one struck in António’s mind: what can a travel and cycling enthusiast do now that travel restrictions are so limiting?
Bear in mind that António usually travels at least 3 times per year to hike or cycle to the most spectacular destinations, the last being Cape Verde, Thailand, Laos, Galapagos, China, Sweden, and the Azores.
And that’s when the idea of Bike Around Portugal came to light.