Coronavirus and its impact on the travel and tourism industry

Published on : Saturday, March 21, 2020

The travel and tourism sector is one of the largest industries in the world. Almost every country around the globe welcomes millions of tourists each year. Numerous people travel all around the year for both personal and professional reasons. These tourists contribute in the free flow of operations in industries such as airlines, hospitality, railways, cruise lines, recreational sights, natural attractions as well as convention centres and meeting venues among others.



Importance of the travel and tourism sector


According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel and tourism sector generated revenue of $8.8 trillion in the world economy and contributed approximately 319 million jobs across the globe during the year 2018. Over the years, the industry has only shown an increasing graph and has flourished in the finest possible ways.



Travel and tourism amid coronavirus outbreak


However, in an unprecedented turn of events, the world became a victim of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus disease this year. The effects of the novel coronavirus were so far-reaching that the World Health Organisation termed it as a pandemic. Soon enough, major nations across the world declared a lockdown and announced every level of travel restriction possible, keeping in mind the safety and security of its people. Therefore, perhaps one of the worst impacts of coronavirus fell upon the travel and tourism sector. The COVID-19 virus put the world in shambles and effects on the travel and tourism industry is not any different.



Effects of the pandemic in travel and tourism


Ever since the outbreak of the virus, international travel has taken a massive hit. Country borders have been closed. Foreign tourists have been completely banned from travelling to their other countries. Non-essential travel has been restricted in almost every nation. Cruise lines have either been suspended or cancelled their operations. Numerous flights have been grounded and major airlines have suspended operations. Carriers like Flybe, in fact, underwent a collapse due to a drastic fall in revenue and decreasing demand. Hotels and accommodation options in various countries have already shut down or slowly edging towards a closure. Recreational sites, tourist attractions and major theme parks like Walt Disney and Universal Studio also closed down to avoid mass gatherings.



In addition, major entertainment, sports and business events like Cannes Film Festival, ITB Berlin, Facebook’s F8 Conference and Google’s I/O Conference among numerous others have been cancelled or postponed. Major festivals around the world also underwent constant cancellation. All these events were bound to attract thousands of participants and visitors and are being cancelled to stop public gatherings.



The global economy and financial markets associated with the travel and tourism industry is expected to suffer one of the most major losses in history. The World Travel and Tourism Council have also predicted nearly 50 million job losses.



Future of the travel and tourism industry in the post-corona world


However, irrespective of the grave situation at hand, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Experts are hopeful that the industry will bounce back stronger once the pandemic is over even though it will take a lot of time to recover. John Lovell, President, Leisure Travel and Supplier Relations and Networks at Travel Leaders Group said in a recent press statement that travel and tourism is a highly resilient industry and history has it that the sector is capable of coming back from diseases and disasters time and again. He added that despite the challenges, the situation would not be the same way forever.



Things to do as a tourist or traveller


Meanwhile, if you are a tourist or traveller yourself, make sure to be safe and avoid essential travel at all costs at this hour of crisis. Maintaining own as well as others’ safety is probably the biggest support one can provide to the travel and tourism sector and every other industry involved. Alongside, be considerate towards tour operators, hospitality managers, airlines staff and every other person associated with the sector. Try not to panic and keep yourself aware of the changing situations. Also, follow government advice and abide by all travel rules at the moment.


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