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2020: the Year that Changed Everything for the World and for Me

Maria G. Tuttocuore

Feb 21, 2022

From panic to opportunity in travel

As a luxury travel professional, I was traveling two weeks out of every month before Covid-19 erupted. I was at the Virtuoso Forum in Las Vegas at the end of January 2020 when I started taking the virus a bit more seriously. My last international business trip was in Toronto instead. I remember well when I was dining with my industry friends at a hotel of the York district and they were receiving the first travel cancellations. It was February. A few weeks later, everything shut down for about two years.

The sirens of the ambulances went off 24/7 for about two months at the NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital nearby where I live in Park Slope. We did not know then that wearing a mask would have hunted us for a couple of years, travel would have been one of the hardest hit industries, the livelihood of some many people would have been put at stake and worse millions would have lost their life to the virus, including a few friends of ours.

Then the headquarters communicated to us that the New York office would have closed for good. It was the moment when panic really won. What to do next? Move back to Italy after 20 years in the USA? How to recoup?

You always hear that the times of crisis are the ones that define you. So very true! I started looking at the whole thing as an opportunity, a way to rethink my whole life and set new goals, work with organizations that align with my values and be my own boss mapping a new and very own unique journey. This is what brought me to establish UNICA Journeys LLC, a travel management and marketing company that offers support, lead generation, and consulting to the finest operators and destinations around the world.

I would love and feel honored if you followed me in this new and regenerative chapter of my life!

Article first published at

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