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Will the real Faust please stand up?                                                        How the COVID pandemic changed

                                                                                                  the German travel industry
         by Martin Ederer                                           gern  (400s)  and  (yikes)  his  own
             othing  seems  to  pique  the
                                                                    daughter. Christopher Marlowe also  The  COVID-19  pandemic  may She adds that "in particular, digitali-
             popular  imagination  like                             attempted to tell the story in 1604. be over, but it's left a mark on travel zation and the use of video-confer-
      Nstories  of  the  devil,  even
                                                                    There  is  a  Polish  legend  about  a habits and the hospitality industry.  encing  has  meant  that  there  is
      among  otherwise  secular  people.                            similar  figure:  Pan  Twardowski.  by Jonas Martiny         significantly  less  business  travel
      Perhaps it speaks eloquently about
                                                                    German  and  Dutch  miracle  plays  It's taken a while, but now  than  before  the  COVID-19
      the existence of Original Sin and the                         also tell similar stories. Most nota- Dthe   COVID-19   pandemic pandemic."
      all-too-human (to paraphrase Nietz-
                                                                    ble is Cenodoxus, by Jakob Bider- could not diminish Germans' love of  According  to  BTW,  the  pan-
      sche)  propensity  to  do  what’s                             mann.                         travel forever. On the contrary, va- demic kicked off a rapid digitaliza-
                                                                       The  history  gets  complicated cations  are  still  a  top  priority  for tion  drive  in  the  travel  and
         Thanks  in  large  part  to  Johann                        further by the fact that there seems many, according to a recent survey hospitality  industry.  Today,  there
      Wolfgang  von  Goethe’s  very  long
                                                                    to  have  existed  a  real  figure,  Dr. by  Germany's  Holiday  and  Travel are  many  more  opportunities  to
      play  about  Faust,  this  figure  has                        Johann  Georg  Faust,  who  was  in- Research Association.   seek out an online customer service,
      made its way into the popular imag-
                                                                    deed a scholar (degree from Heidel-  This  is  confirmed  by  Professor book restaurant tables or tickets for
      ination, even giving rise to the ex-                          berg,  no  less)  who  lived  from  c. Ulrich  Reinhardt,  a  tourism  re- tourist attractions on the internet.
      pression “Faustian deal,” a situation                         1480-1540. He seems to fit many of searcher who heads the Foundation  The  long-term  impact  of  the
      where someone “makes a deal with  Goethe  in  1828,  by  Joseph  the descriptions of the character in for Future Studies. "Many Germans pandemic  can  also  be  felt  in  the
      the  devil”  in  order  to  get  rich,  fa- Karl Stieler.
                                                                    literature. Although he was a schol- are not prepared to forgo relaxing, aviation  sector.  According  to  the
      mous, powerful – or any combina-  The earliest version may have been  ar,  he  achieved  notoriety  for  his getting a break from their everyday latest  statistics  from  the  German
      tion thereof. In any case there are all
                                     related to stories about St. Theophi-  skill as a travelling sometime physi- lives, enjoying new experiences, the Airports  Association  (ADV),  the
      sorts of German cultural DNA be-  lus  the  Penitent  in  the  Byzantine  cian (his actual degree was in divin- sun, the beach and the ocean," Rein- number  of  passengers  at  German
      hind this story.
                                     East, who in the 500s was a clergy-  ity!),  magician,  astrologer  and hardt told DW.      airports in the first five months of
         Goethe’s version of the story is  man said to have made a deal with  alchemist – all of which earned him  Domestic  tourism  has  bounced 2023 was still 27% below the same
      easily the most enduring, even if the
                                     the devil to get even with the bishop  church condemnation (apparently a back,  too.  The  German  hospitality period  in  2019.  The  area  most  af-
      legend  was  around  for  centuries:  who  unjustly  fired  him  from  his  big  reason  for  his  constant  travel- industry  recorded  47  million  over- fected are domestic flights. Where-
      Faust,  a  dissatisfied  and  bored
                                     position.  He  later  repented,  and  ing).                  night stays in May this year, which as 2.1 million passengers embarked
      scholar, is frustrated with the limits  through  the  intercession  of  the  He  apparently  died  in  a  hotel- marks a 5.8% rise compared to the on  domestic  flights  in  May  2023,
      of  his  knowledge,  his  powers  and
                                     Blessed Virgin Mary, was released  room  alchemy  experiment-gone- pre-COVID-19 period. The German that figure was more than double in
      his  enjoyment  of  life.  A  very  ac-  from the contract with the devil.  wrong in Staufen im Breisgau. His Travel Association also reports that May 2019. Among other things, a
      commodating  devil,  Mephistophe-
                                        In the British world, there is a  body had been so badly mutilated in travel behavior is returning to pre- reduced  number  of  flight  connec-
      les,  offers  him  a  deal:  Faust  will  story about a Faustus who was the  the explosion that legends grew that pandemic  levels.  "There  is  signifi- tions  within  Germany  is  to  blame
      have  knowledge,  power  and  plea-
                                     incestuous offspring of King Vorti-  the devil had come to claim his own. cantly  more  demand  for  foreign for  this  shortfall,  says  the  ADV.
      sure. The cost is that the devil will                            After Goethe, Faust stories con- travel again, although many families Moreover, more people are choos-
      claim  his  soul,  and  Faust  will  be
                                                                    tinued to multiply as authors contin- are very price-conscious and favor ing rail services instead.
      eternally enslaved to him.                                    ued  to  offer  their  own  versions: all-inclusive deals," it says. There is  Across the entire aviation indus-
         From  the  perspective  of  aca-
                                                                    There was Washington Irving’s The also  a  tendency  to  book  holidays try, fewer flight connections are on
      demia, there is a compelling art-im-                          Devil  and  Tom  Walker  (1824), further in advance.         offer  today  than  in  2019.  At  the
      itating-life quality to the basic story
                                                                    which  inspired  Stephen  Vincent  "Changes brought about by the same time, demand has skyrocket-
      arc  –  at  least  to  this  point.  Faust                    Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Web- coronavirus  are  most  obvious  and ed, driving up air fares. According
      takes  the  deal,  and  gets  much  of
                                                                    ster (1937). In 1947 Thomas Mann probably most lasting in the area of to data from Germany's Federal Sta-
      which he had hoped for, including                             offered  yet  another  variation.  The business travel," says a spokeswom- tistical  Office,  tickets  were  52.6%
      carnal pleasures. But when Faust’s
                                                                    list goes on, with renditions by Hei- an for the Federal Association of the more expensive in the first half of
      girlfriend gives birth to his illegiti-                       nrich Heine, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude German  Tourism  Industry  (BTW). 2023 than in the first half of 2021.
      mate son, she is overcome with guilt
                                                                    Stein…and  Vaclav  Havel.  Then
      and drowns the child. She, in turn, is                        there are plays and films.
      executed  for  murder.  Through  her
                                                                       The  Faust  theme  also  inspired
      repentance and prayer, she ends up                            major  music  composers:  Wagner,
      saved, and Faust also escapes dam-
                                                                    Schumann,  Liszt,  Berlioz,  Mahler
      nation.  Female  love  thus  triumphs                         and  Stravinsky.  Charles  Gounod’s
      over death and damnation.
                                                                    Faust  has  become  a  staple  of  the
         Even if Goethe’s version of the                            standard  opera  repertoire  every-
      story  is  perhaps  the  best  remem-
                                                                    where.  There  are  numerous  basic
      bered, there are numerous versions                            morals  to  the  story:  the  power  of
      that both predate it and postdate it Illustration by Harry Clarke
                                                                    female  love,  the  depth  of  God’s
      from  all  over  Europe  and  beyond. for Goethe's Faust.
                                                                    mercy…and  perhaps  most  impor-
                                                                    tantly, to avoid playing footsie with
                                                                    the devil in the first place, because
                                                                    he’s a lot smarter than we are.

                                                                   Pan  Twardowski  and  the
                                                                   devil  by  Michał  Elwiro
                                                                   Andriolli.     The     Polish
                                                                   folklore  legend  bears  many
                                                                   similarities  to  the  story  of

                                                                              Published by
                                                                         Buffalo Standard Printing
                                                                            3620 Harlem Rd.
                                                                         Cheektowaga, NY 14215
                                                                          Editor - Roger Puchalski
                                                                      Consulting Editor - Martin Ederer
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