IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON TOURISM.
Covid 19 emerged from China and travelled all around the world, thereby stopping everyone else from travelling. Tourism as an industry has been travelling with the wild pace of technological advancements and aboard are people from different places and cultures interacting with increasing ease since the globe had been shrunk into a village.
Every 60 second, 2173 people arrive in a foreign country!
But unfortunately, the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the tourism economy.
Do you know 1/10 jobs across the world, i.e 9.9 % of global employment are supported by the tourism industry?
What changes were observed by the tourism industry in response to this pandemic?
According to UNWTO’s Report on COVID – 19 Related Travel Restrictions, as of 20 April, 100% of all worldwide destinations have introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic.
Available data points to a double-digit decrease of 22% in international tourist arrivals in Q1 2020, with arrivals in the month of March down by 57% following the start of the lockdown in many countries, widespread travel restrictions and the shutdown of airports and national borders.
This represents a loss of 67 million international arrivals in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period of last year.
By regions, Asia and the Pacific, the first region to suffer the impact of COVID-19, saw a 35% decrease in arrivals in Q1 2020. The second-hardest hit was Europe with a 19% decline, followed by the Americas (-15%), Africa (-12%) and the Middle East (-11%).
The WTTC predicts potential job impact covid-19 to the global tourism sector, up to 50 million jobs are at risk globally, representing a reduction in jobs of 12-14%.
The airline industry (IATA) has recorded an 80% drop in flights when compared to 2019. In the IATA financial outlook for the global air industry, the airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020.
Impact on Indian Tourism Industry-
The Indian tourism industry is projected to book a revenue loss of Rs 1.25 trillion in calendar 2020 as a fall out of the shutdown of hotels and suspension in flight operations after the onset and spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
India’s total foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) stood at 10.9 million and the foreign exchange earnings (FEE) stood at Rs 210,971 crore during 2019, with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi accounting for about 60 percent of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs).
With travel restrictions in India for over 80 countries and most of the flights of major airlines being suspended, the Indian domestic as well as foreign travel and tourism industry is expected to witness a sharp negative impact in 2020.
Which places are open in this pandemic?
The quick spread of the virus can partially be attributed to air travel, which leaves us wondering what that means for our upcoming travel plans.
Although the internet might make you believe that coronavirus is worldwide, there are a few places where the coronavirus lost its war. Such places have also opened up for tourism with many safety measures. Some of those places are:
1. Lofoten Islands, Norway
2. While Italy is closing down entire towns and the virus is slowly creeping towards Central Europe, Budapest in Hungary has reported no cases of coronavirus so far.
3. Usually what is considered a downside to traveling to New Zealand, its remoteness is what makes it a compellingly safe vacation spot in times of a global health crisis.
4. Switzerland is the political haven in Europe, but it could be a healthy one as well, as when the whole world is affected, Switzerland has managed to keep itself healthy.
5. Azores, Portugal: Breath-Taking Islands In The Middle Of The Atlantic. No one, not even a dangerous virus, will find you in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Poland Has Had No Confirmed Coronavirus Cases So Far. And therefore is safe for a great escape.
7. Costa Rica: The authorities are closely monitoring any incoming flights from virus hotspot countries and so far, the country is completely safe.
8. While Iceland reported one case of the virus, the patient is in isolation, so you should consider yourself safe when you step foot on Icelandic soil.
While many countries are opening up for tourism, the fear of the virus is still keeping the people from traveling anywhere. Among all the countries in the world, tourists splash the highest amount of cash US 28.50 Billion Dollars in Dubai!!!
All of this only leads to one question. Will tourism ever be the same?
The answer is not known to anyone, but everyone has their own perceptions on what tourism would look like post Covid 19. Most countries like Paris, New Zealand and most European countries work on tourism and have made tourism their main source for their economic stability. Therefore it is important for the tourism industry to stand on its feet. For that, we collectively as one will have to win this fight against COVID 19. Initially it will start with domestic Traveling. To support their tourism sectors, countries may purposefully restrict outward travel and encourage local tourism as a substitute. In essence, domestic travel and tourism will be expected to substitute foreign tourism demand, at least for the time being. For some countries, this will not nearly be enough, especially in terms of generating foreign currency revenues.
At the beginning, countries may require a COVID-19 free certificate. Needless to say, host countries themselves will also need to show they are safe for tourists. This goes beyond having low reported infection numbers, but also having credible systems in place in case tourists do get sick. Such provisions may include government guarantee for private treatment.
And of course, recipient countries will have to make it easier for travellers to arrive. This will mean improving visa application processes, or outright waving them, perhaps as part of bilateral arrangements.