New Year’s Resolutions
All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you, night, and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day
There is nothing new on New Year's Day. Back in 1983, a very young Bono Vox was singing this song, forty years ago, after a full year of celebrations for the World Cup won by our national team in '82. The historical period was still very hard with the shade of the years of the lead just behind the corner. Despite everything, it was a lively Italy who wanted to move forward, to build, to leave behind a heavy political and social past and get back into the game.
Today, after three years of pandemic and economic crisis aggravated by the war between Russia and Ukraine, we don't know what to expect. Perhaps we are all tired of not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, continuing to find barriers in daily life amidst Covid, difficulty in travelling, doing business and trying to go on after one year which caused us so many problems.
President Sandro Pertini plays cards on the plane back to Italy with Bearzot and Zoff in 1982 with the World Cup on the table
“It can't rain forever”, the most famous quote from “The Crow”, the unforgettable movie from the 90s with Brandon Lee, teaches us that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and this year will represent that light!
In fact, in a few days China will open up to the rest of the world and we are waiting for tourism to resume as before the pandemic, for the streets to be crowded with visitors, curious, lovers of "Made in Italy" shopping and people who want to commit themselves in Asia.
But then, after years of severe restrictions and lockdowns, are we all free? It's really like this?
Since March 2020, entering and leaving China has become impossible due to the imposed quarantines, restrictions and sudden measures that many people faced when a "positive" was detected in their hotel or building. And now? Perhaps Beijing no longer considers the utopia of a country with zero cases a priority but realized that it makes more sense to save the economy?
An important figure comes from the BBC claiming that in China, after the spread of the news regarding the reopening, there has been a surge in traffic at travel agencies. According to Reuters, data from travel platform Ctrip showed that searches for popular cross-border destinations had increased 10-fold within half an hour of the news, and platform Qunar said it had seen a 7-fold increase in international flight searches within 15 minutes.
In the meantime, however, numerous countries (including Italy) have introduced the mandatory swab procedure for travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macao.
While we wait to see what happens in China also in anticipation of the CNY, we notice that on the streets we start seeing some shy tourists with Hong Kong's Lonely Planet in their hands who, with their nose up, walk through the streets crowded with Central at lunchtime. We can't help but think when, many years ago, we were tourists in a place that, slowly, became a home, a safe harbour, a comfort zone.
This gives us hope for this 2023 which, in a few weeks, will see the beginning of the year of the water rabbit, a year that promises to be peaceful. diplomatic and meditative (also politically). Fingers crossed and take the high road!