Tourism in a world with pandemics: local-global responsibility and action  

This article draws on past research on the spread of other diseases, as well as emergent news about the novel coronavirus, to explore the impact of pandemics on the tourism industry. A series of practical recommendations about how tourism stakeholders can navigate the pandemic are suggested: manage misinformation; collaboration and coordinated action; and assessing monetary and non-monetary impacts of pandemics. 

Date added 15 July 2020
Last updated 15 July 2020

This article draws on past research on the spread of other disease outbreaks including SARS and Ebola, as well as emergent news about the novel coronavirus, to explore the impact of pandemics on tourism. It advises that stakeholders in the tourism industry should take a proactive approach to crisis management, given the spread of disease outbreaks and pandemics is likely to become more commonplace in an increasingly globally-connected world. A series of practical recommendations about how tourism stakeholders can navigate pandemics are suggested. First, it is advised that tourism stakeholders should manage the misinformation that can spread during pandemics, which can lead to discrimination towards and fear of certain countries. Stakeholders should also ensure they are well informed during any disease outbreaks to reduce the spread of misinformation. Second, greater collaboration between stakeholders in the industry is encouraged to enable knowledge exchange and better coordination of crisis management and recovery plans and actions.

In a little more detail at a local level, the authors suggest the need for:

  • “Strong linkages between hospitality and tourism businesses, destination management organizations and public health authorities (there is strong reliance on local health authorities for surveillance, monitoring and treatment of this novel coronavirus).
  • Support for the population groups facing discrimination and racism by the hospitality and tourism industry…
  • Local residents and other important tourism stakeholders (including tourists and service providers) to be well informed and to exercise an ethic of care toward groups that stand to be marginalized, excluded and misrepresented due to their ethnicity or origin.”

Finally, it is suggested that both monetary and non-monetary (e.g. social) impacts of pandemics are assessed, and lessons learned from past outbreaks, such as the need for service providers being fully informed, open communication channels between diverse stakeholders, and care shown towards local residents and communities, particularly at the beginning of outbreaks.