In July 2008, fear and alarm has spread around the globe as the world economy has experienced a severe shaking. Stock markets plummeted, banks and companies failed, and tens of millions of jobs were lost.
Millions of people feel helpless and fearful of the future. Having studied economics, none of these events have come as a surprise. In fact, it is a surprise that things managed to go so well for so long before the inevitable collapse.
The January 2020 COVID-19 pandemic could translate into large numbers of people simultaneously seeking medical care. Schools, childcare centers and workplaces experienced more absenteeism. Mass gatherings were sparsely attended or postponed. Public health and healthcare systems became overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalization and deaths, especially among the elderly. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and sectors of the transportation industry were also affected.
In respect to tourism, one of the hardest hit sectors, Cambodia, which had just won the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association’s International Travel Award for Best Destination, the global coronavirus outbreak dampened its tourism industry. Mr. Chuk Chumno, spokesman for the Tourism Ministry announced the government acknowledged a drop in foreign tourists coming to the Kingdom, but the Kingdom will continue to mitigate its impact on tourism. The Kingdom in 2019 earned approximately $4.91 billion from some 6.61 million foreign visitors, up by 12.4 percent, and domestic tourists visiting cultural sites in the Kingdom numbered about 11.3 million, an increase of 2.3 million, when compared to the previous year. According to a Tourism Ministry report, the Kingdom’s tourism sector contributed 12.1 percent to GDP and employed up to 630,000 people. But with the outbreak of the coronavirus, Chinese tourists numbers fell 90percent. All sectors related to tourism have taken a hit. In Siem Reap, hoteliers have been suffering since January, the usual high season, along with other local businesses and traders. Asia’s most attractive sites—the temples, promenades, shopping streets, museums, and mausoleums—were empty, as the rising death toll cemented in a stay-at-home mentality. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced tax breaks for hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap for four months to offset the losses.
It’s funny to hear the economic “experts” express amazement at some events of recent months, as though it was something out of the blue, which nobody could have predicted. The predictions, however, were not based on some kind of mysterious set of beliefs or weird worldview, but rather they were based on a simple analysis of the available economic data.
Millions of people feel helpless and fearful of the future. Many have faith that their will protect them, but while money may help guard against the coronavirus pandemic in the short-term, over the longer term, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it.
We do not know what the future holds, but if our lives are in God’s hands, the peace of the Holy Spirit will flood our lives, regardless of how dire circumstances around us may get. The Kingdom of God continues to advance, and thousands are being won from darkness to light every day. However, our hope is not in this world! There is another perspective that we should cultivate and possess.
Jesus warned, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).