Ardo Hansson, the former governor of the Bank of Estonia, the country’s central bank, takes a rather positive view of the world once the coronavirus emergency is over.
In an opinion piece, published in Postimees (in Estonian), an Estonian daily, Hansson says that compared with previous global pandemics or catastrophes, the damage caused by the coronavirus is quite modest and since people’s memory is short, this crisis will soon disappear into the oblivion. He cites the pandemics of the past, such as the Black Death (75–200 million estimated deaths) and the Spanish flu (17-50 million estimated deaths), for example, and says the human losses due to the current coronavirus are miniscule in comparison.
As for the impact on the travelling and tourism industry, Hansson cites dramatic disasters of the past, such as the MS Estonia sinking (1994), the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2001) and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, for example – and says that once the initial shock was over, people still travelled by ferries, flew by planes and travelled around. In a year preceding the 9/11 attacks, airlines carried 1.7 billion people – by 2018, that number had increased to 4.4 billion people, Hansson points out.
The coronavirus crisis has severe short-term economic effects, especially on businesses and the people who work there, Hansson concedes. “But in most cases, life will recover, and we’ll live as we did a few months ago. We will continue to spend and consume. As social beings, we go to restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, concerts and sports events again – without the 2+2 rule and face masks,” he predicts. “We, Estonians, travel abroad again in full planes and tourists will be visiting Estonia more than ever before, even by cruise ships.”
“Of course, people’s lifestyles may change for other reasons – political, technological or climatic – but not because of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic,” Hansson states.
Cover: Ardo Hansson (Eesti Pank).