Well, it wasn’t the best of years for tourism. In fact, the global pandemic has completely shut down Washington tourism since March. Just days from the start of the spring tour season, the government shut us down for a few weeks that has extended nine months with no end in sight.
Even worse, it looks like we’ll lose the spring season again as the vaccine program probably won’t permit free movement until the summer, which is too late for the lucrative spring season of school groups and conventions. Some experts say it will be 2024 before we’re back to 2019 levels. After all, when we’re finally past this pandemic, we’re all going somewhere fun like the beach, not a bunch of government buildings.
I don’t say this to whine. I’ve made peace that a tour business I spent a decade building has been obliterated. I’m not alone in losing a business. Getting older may not permit me the time to really rebuild. I may turn to some new tours in late 2021 involving food rather than the long days of touring the National Mall and other places that turned into 7 to 10-mile walks.
Anyway, my blog took a natural hit. About 10,000 visitors read Monumental Thoughts in 2020 versus 17,000 the past few years. That’s not surprising. What did surprise me was for the first time in nine years there was a new top story as my list of 101 Smithsonian exhibits to see surpassed what stones on graves meant. The German soldier from World War II buried at Arlington National Cemetery was third, followed by the Watergate steps and where John Wilkes Booth crossed the Potomac River.
Naturally, U.S. readers were the majority at 84 percent with China making a move to second followed by the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany respectively. Virginia was the most represented state followed by Washington, D.C., Maryland, California and Texas.
The year wasn’t a total loss, though. I created a podcast play “The Angel Among Us” that is an old-time radio show available free wherever you get podcasts. I also turned my tour skills into becoming an online teacher at OutSchool.com where I teach mostly about presidents. It has been interesting to work with kids, mostly elementary school age.
Above all, I’m just grateful none of my family or I suffered from the COVID pandemic. That’s all that matters.
So goodbye and good riddance to 2020. We’ll always look back with a wince when recalling this year. Hopefully, I’ll see you on the streets in 2021.