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COVID-19 and tourism

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By Dr Nikolaos Pappas, Reader in Tourism, Hospitality and Events
It is common knowledge that tourism and its related industries (hospitality, events, transportation etc.) are considered as luxury products with high elasticity (in both demand and supply), and are therefore extremely susceptible to crises and disasters. Moreover, when a crisis is not resolved sufficiently and in a timely manner, multiple other crises emerge. In the case of Covid-19, all fiscal forecasts predict extensive global economic turmoil (at a time when the world hasn’t yet recovered from the previous economic crisis), for the coming years at least. It is more than certain that this will have a further substantial negative impact for the tourism industry, considering that an extensive economic crisis is always accompanied by an exponential increase of poverty levels, social unrest and political uncertainty. All of the above mean that global tourism is entering uncharted waters and has to face countless challenges.
During these unprecedented times, crisis and disaster management should face the new realities head on. We should be under no illusion that individual destinations and countries can handle this alone. A world effort is more than necessary in order to strengthen national economies, support weaker regions, arrange bailouts, create funding opportunities and restructure the industry. Tourism-wise, the price-quality nexus is of upmost importance in order to shield the related industries, reshape tourist packages and transform tourism development in a more sustainable manner. In addition, widespread recovery plans should be structured and employed not only for specific destinations and countries, but for much larger areas (i.e. the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Far East Asia), also securing a much higher equilibrium of wealth distribution generated from tourism to local societies. Social justice and participatory democracy (community participation) should also be included in any recovery strategy, aiming to minimise the side effects and crises generated from the dominant disaster. In other words, now is the time for all of us to change our way of thinking, our way of acting, our way of consuming, and the way we view the world around us. Now is the time to change the world, or there will be no world to change. 
Three hotel reception staff working on a reception desk

Learn more about Dr Nikolaos Pappas and his role as Reader in Tourism, Hospitality and Events. 

Published: 22 April 2020

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