We were expecting a shock in our bookings, but we never saw it coming. Just the day before we had spoken to our team, we gathered all of our coworkers and explained to them that the effects of the pandemic should reach Costa Rica in the following days, and we would be confronted with a lack of reservations and a change from our normal. We told them not to worry and committed to do everything in our power to keep them all in the payroll. We assured them about our solid financial position and tried to convey to them our best vision of the days ahead.
But we did not know what hit us. On a single day, Friday March the 13th, we were hit with a wave of cancelations, postponements and demands for refunds that we never expected. Even passengers that were arriving that very same day were demanding to go back immediately. The following 2 weeks had full days of refunds and rescheduling. Fortunately, we had no ill passengers, and our clients trusted us and allowed us the time to organize refunds and claims so that within a couple of weeks we managed to return the money to everyone; even when some of the hotels are still holding our deposits to this date. Business stopped all at once, and life seemed to do so as well.
But for some strange reason, I am at ease. While we are spending the savings of many years to get passed this pandemic, for some reason I am not in panic. It´s as if a wave of patience and peace also came with this shock. I think we needed to stop, a chance to reflect on life and what matters most, a time to think of family and good friends, and the best use of our time.
I am amongst the privileged ones. First and foremost, I live in Costa Rica. We have a strong health system available to everyone, that created a good plan to protect us. In parallel, our Government implemented a series of relief measures for companies that helps a lot in staying afloat, while keeping all employees at a reasonable compensation level, until better times for our industry arrive. We have plenty of space in Costa Rica to keep our distances, our population densities are very low, we can take walks in the mountains, or visit rivers, and don´t need to be locked down in a small apartment in the city during the pandemic. As it happens, nature right now is at its best, showing us its greatness every day. These all helps you reflect, be grateful and find your peace!
My family is very close and serves as my support group. We form a bubble within which we can socialize. My niece has a special condition, so one of my sisters and her bubble has to stay separate, which is very challenging, but we understand it is for the best, and it is temporary.
I am 56. I have worked for what I have. I have put in the hours and have been blessed with good results. I have done it before. I can do it again and do it better. I can learn from this stop.
This should not be the end. This is an opportunity for a new beginning!
CEO at Horizontes Nature Tours