The coronavirus has had a huge impact on the tourism industry as a whole, with a mixture of travel bans, canceled flights and quarantined cruise ship. With a global industry that relies on both domestic and international tourism, where do we go from here? What damage has been done, and which sector will suffer the most? It’s early days, but countries are already dealing with the fallout.
To give some context into the extent of coronavirus’ effect on the tourism industry, we’ve taken a deep dive into some of the best coverage out there. From airlines going bust to cruise ships out of action, here’s a summary of what’s happened so far with Covid-19 and travel…
Coronavirus & Tourism: What’s Going On?
This has been one of the hardest hit sectors, with massive cuts both in the number of flights and airlines forcing to layoff staff. Regional airlines have gone under (FlyBe in the UK went into administration), demand for flights has dropped and European airlines faced criticism over flying ‘ghost planes’ in order to keep their route slots.
See some of the key points on airlines and the coronavirus below:
Just last week, the CDC warned against cruise travel. The CDC says that ‘recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.’
Princess Cruise President Jan Swartz announces that Princess Cruises will temporarily and voluntarily pause all ship operations for 60 days, and explains the rationale, as well as impact to guests.
There are very few countries in the world not feeling the effect, but some are being hit harder than others. Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister says that the effects of Chinese travel bans will cost Thailand around 50 billion baht in lost tourism revenue.
European countries such as Italy, Belgium and Ireland are on ‘lockdown’ mode, with drastic effects for small businesses and the hospitality industry. As the coronavirus sweeps the world, both multinational companies and small, family-owned businesses are feeling the pain.
Last month, Italian tourism representatives said that $260 million in bookings for hotels and other hospitality had already been canceled.
Restrictions on borders are not always effective and face criticism by many, including the WHO. This hasn’t stopped countries all over the world imposing bans however…
Scientists studying the outbreak of coronavirus estimate that that the travel ban on Wuhan led to a 77% reduction in cases coming from China to the rest of the world in early February. This is compared with no travel ban.
However, this lower level of cases only lasted about 2-3 weeks. After this time, the number of international cases grew due to cases from other parts of China.