The Corona Pandemic in 2020 and 2021 led to massive restrictions on the show caves and show mines described on showcaves.com . There were restrictions on group size, social distancing regulations that had to be observed and lockdowns. Many operators, especially the non-profit ones, were overwhelmed with the complex and frequently changing restrictions and closed down altogether. In 2023, when more or less all restrictions are lifted, one would expect that the various providers would also return to their old regulations and opening hours. However, this is not the case, several mechanisms can be identified which have both advantages and disadvantages for visitors. As we have noticed when updating opening hours that we observe the same mechanisms again and again, we have tried to explain them here in summary form.
At first glance, the most radical aftermath seems to be closure. This has indeed happened, but to a much lesser extent than we feared. In most cases, it is not possible to determine whether the institution was causally closed because of the pandemic. We deal with all closures in the same way: the page is maintained but no longer updated, the locations are listed crossed out.
In fact, another after-effect has now emerged as a massive factor, the use of online booking systems. We basically consider this to be a disadvantage in total, although of course it has advantages and disadvantages. The basic limitation is, unfortunately, that you can no longer follow a sign on a trip, buy a ticket and go on a guided tour. That has been quite normal for many people. In the future, it will happen more and more often that you arrive and are asked for a reservation at the ticket office. And if you don't have one, you've probably made the trip for nothing. The psychological effects are considerable, people change their behaviour. This in turn also has an impact on institutions that do not use an online booking system.
In our opinion, the massive introduction of reservation systems is the main after-effect of the pandemic. While this may well have various advantages, we think that overall it will bring about massive changes in the entire tourism sector. For us, it is actually an advantage, we don't have to maintain changed opening hours and prices anymore, we can simply refer to the booking system. For visitors, however, it is a massive restriction, both of flexibility and of the ability to plan.