The recent lockdown has presented a challenging obstacle to hot air balloon enthusiasts across the world. Just as lockdown starts to ease on different parts of the globe, so too does the freedom for balloonists to take to skies again return bit by bit in different countries: opening up the world for some, and giving hope to the rest of us.
Since May, balloonists have been able to fly solo or with one member of their household over the skies of Belgium. This week, the nation has entered the third stage of its return to a form of normality, meaning that hot air balloon trips can now accommodate larger groups, breathing much needed new life into the hot air balloon industry. Passengers on flights in Belgium must wear masks and must all come from the same bubble.
Over in Turkey, hot air balloonists are gearing up to take visitors over the iconic fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. The skies have been empty over this breath-taking landscape since Turkey went into lockdown. Before lockdown, 150 balloons a day would take to the skies. For now, test flights have started returning to the area, with the expectation that tourists will be able to hop aboard from middle of July.
Over here in the UK, we still have to wait a little while to follow suit, but when the time comes – and we hope it will be soon – we look forward to taking people on hot air balloon adventures in the skies of Bath, Bristol and other parts of the South West and to soaking up some of our own amazing vistas.