Coronavirus affects world tourism in a hard way

 Thursday, March 5, 2020 


Empty hotels, flight cancellations, closed tourist sights. The coronavirus has severely damaged the tourism industry of the world. The industry is by now anticipating almost billion losses.


The emergency situation in Europe is still growing: Since the outbreak of the virus in Italy, popular tourist destinations are getting almost empty. In Venice and Milan, museums, theaters and places of interest are shutting down, important events have been called off In France, the Louvre remained shut down for a third consecutive day as well because employees have stopped working in the fear of coronavirus.


In the meantime in Germany, after the cancellation of the International Tourism Fair (ITB), people are worried in regards to the effect of travel cancellations from the Asia. The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) anticipates overnight stays from China to drop by between 17 and 25%. As Chinese tourists contribute significantly to sales, amounting to around €8 billion ($9 billion) anually, the losses are probably to create a massive impact on German tourism as well.


“We will certainly feel the effects of this slump,” Mathias Schiemer, managing director of Heidelberg City Marketing, informed DW in a recent interview. The city on the Neckar River is one of the most preferred destinations for Chinese tourists in Germany. Even though, as Schiemer explains, figures are not yet on hand, one thing is certain: “We will not be able to compensate for this loss.”


Asian countries affected the most
In Asia, the situation is worse compared to Europe. Of approximately 150 million trips abroad made by Chinese nationals, a full 90% go to Asian countries. Chinese tourists have become an important financial factor there. Nevertheless, as most airlines have stopped their connecting flights to China, the rich guests from the People’s Republic have largely stayed away.


Bali declared that 40,000 hotel bookings have by now been called off. Japan is even more affected. There Chinese guests accounted for around a quarter of the total of 32 million international visitors in 2018. Now, many sights are visited exclusively by tourists from Europe and North America — even though they are more and more staying away because of the coronavirus.


The picture is same in Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam. “It is certainly a catastrophe for these countries,” tourism professor and director of the China Outbound Tourism Institute (COTRI), Wolfgang Arlt infomed DW. Many small time businesses like souvenir shops, hotels and tour operators have closed their outlets. Tourism in Thailand fears a decline of 6 million guests this year, 16% less than last year.


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