Essay by Zhuoran Yang
Abstract: This is a paper focuses on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry. The pandemic continues to threaten the movement of people both internationally as well as domestically. COVID-19, which is spread by human contact, reduced travel throughout the world as travel restrictions were issued, as well as the placements of lockdowns in areas thought as COVID-19 red zones. The sectors most affected by the pandemic and its implications are the tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors. Tourists who had booked tours and vacations to destinations which required travel had to cancel them which in turn led to loss in revenues for tourism stakeholders. Tourism was hit hard as it accounts for the majority of revenues in nations whose livelihoods are tied to tourism-related activities like safaris, water sports, tours, and vacation homes. The effects of COVID-19 on the tourism industry have been more negative than positive. People have lost their jobs, businesses have collapsed, and the revenues of economies have plummeted. Governments have worked on ways to recover, and although it might take years before the tourism industry fully comes back to life, they have seen considerable results. The efforts have created opportunities for innovations among businesses related to tourism which will not only be used as recovery methods from the virus but also will be integrated in the future prospects of the industry. However, the pandemic has also had benefits related to the tourism industry. Ecosystems essential for the existence of tourism sights have been let to thrive without the interference of human culture which for the longest time, has led to the pollution of the environment. Wildlife species which have been endangered due to human intrusion into their habitats have been able to survive and produce more offspring. Parks which had been used for recreation by tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic have been able to breath. As humans remain locked during the pandemic, newer inventions are made to ensure that people cope.
Covid has affected tourism as a lot of tourists depend on forms of travel to reach their tourism destination. International tourism has been affected as countries are locked down. Until the COVID pandemic declines, then travelling in masses to sight see and visits tourist sites all over the world cannot be done. Due to different government regulations throughout the world, tourism sectors in major tourist destinations are expected to fail in the first time in decades. The tourism sector is expected to take decades to recover as stakeholders devise new ways to ensure people sight see without the threat of aggravating the pandemic.
Billions in revenue connected to the tourism sector have been lost thus entire sectors and government departments have been affected. Many nations which depend on tourism as their main source of livelihood have had to deal with losses connected to tourism activities (Signe, 2020). For example, the island nation of Mauritius has seen the decline in international tourism as flights have been cancelled, hotel stays cancelled as well as activities which had been favourites on the island. The funds with which tourists used to book their vacations have had to be reimbursed to ensure accountability even though losses have been encountered.
Tourism related jobs have been lost due to the COVID pandemic. Jobs for tourist guides, hotel workers and inter-industry connected jobs have been lost. Tourist guides can no longer conduct their tours as there are no longer tourists to be shown around. Hotel workers and other services connected to the tourism sector such as drivers have also been affected. As hotel workers can no longer work in empty hotels, they have been sent home by management. Drivers who take tourists around in sight seeing places have also been fired as tourists avoid travelling. Pilots and air stewards no longer have jobs.
The food industry has been affected by the decline of tourism brought about by the COVID pandemic. People who have involved themselves in food production for the tourism sector have seen a decline in their business as hotels no longer order the amount of produce as they had before the pandemic. There has been a loss of business in the food production which has led to wastage of resources needed so much in combating the pandemic. A lot of has gone to waste as the pandemic regulations require people to avoid gatherings so food industry stakeholders have to try new outlets for their produce.
Due to the COVID pandemic, economies throughout the world which depend on tourism have had to turn to policy regulation measures which are meant to soften the impact of the pandemic. The measures made are based on the plummeting tourism revenues and businesses as well as households which have largely depended on tourism taxes (Allam, 2020). Cash transfers, loans, and relief plans have been set up by governments in order to cushion tourism stakeholders. In addition, repayments of loans to banks have been halted to ensure bank clients don’t struggle during the crisis brought upon by the pandemic.
Tourism-dependent economies have had to result to other revenue generating sectors in order to offset their losses. For example, nations like Seychelles have had to result to exporting tuna in order to ensure revenues are maintained at steady levels. Although the earnings may not reach those of tourism, it has kept budgetary allocations afloat. For the tourism workers displaced from their jobs due to COVID, then the government has resulted to retraining them to be sufficient in sectors which are not as highly volatile. Sectors which the government has had to shift to include agriculture and the development of infrastructure.
The crisis in the tourism sector has led to the creation of opportunities created due to COVID. There has been a digitization of skills for worker training. Governments have invested in digital skills to harness the power of big data to create jobs. Innovation has been leveraged to ensure the sustainable use of resources for people. Resources which have been leveraged on data include energy, water, and food. Digitization of resources has led to efforts geared towards the recovery of the tourism sector due to damages brought upon by effects of COVID throughout the world.
The COVID pandemic has improved areas related to tourism such as environment and wildlife conservation. As communities have been locked down, the environment as well as wildlife ecosystems have been left without human intervention. Oceans which had been frequented by tourists all year round have gone for long periods without human contact and pollution. The absence of environment pollution on oceans has enabled ocean ecosystems to thrive and recover. Plastic and other materials which have killed organisms essential for the well-being of the planet are no longer disposed into oceans in large amounts as they used to. Oceans and beaches are cleaner than they have ever been. Because movement has been restricted, air pollution brought about by modes of transport such as vehicles and aeroplanes has been less and less. The climate of earth is slowly recovering so are the systems which make tourism possible such as pollution free wildlife parks and forests which serve as grounds for ecosystem survival.
Allam, Z. (2020). Surveying the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications: Urban health, data technology and political economy.
Signé, L. (2020). Unlocking Africa’s business potential: Trends, opportunities, risks, and strategies.