Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers.The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread[1].The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that global international tourist arrivals might decrease by 20–30% in 2020, leading to a potential loss of US$30–50 billion.[2] In many of the world's cities, planned travel went down by 80–90%.[3] Many tourist attractions around the world, such as museums, amusement parks and sports venues, are closed.

Travel restrictionsEdit

As a result of the pandemic, many countries and regions have imposed quarantines, entry bans, or other restrictions for citizens of or recent travellers to the most affected areas.[4] Other countries and regions have imposed global restrictions that apply to all foreign countries and territories, or prevent their own citizens from travelling overseas.[5]

Together with a decreased willingness to travel, the restrictions have had a negative economic impact on the travel sector in those regions. A possible long-term impact has been a decline of business travel and international conferencing, and the rise of their virtual, online equivalents.[6] Concerns have been raised over the effectiveness of travel restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.[7]

By countryEdit


Tourism bodies have suggested that the total economic cost to the sector, as of 11 February 2020, would be A$4.5 billion. Casino earnings are expected to fall.[8] At least two localities in Australia, Cairns and the Gold Coast, have reported already lost earnings of more that $600 million.[9]

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) called on the Government of Australia for financial support especially in light of the large number of small businesses affected.[10]

National travel agency Flight Centre has indefinitely closed 100 stores throughout Australia, due to significantly lower demand for travel.[11] It also suffered a 75% decline in share price,[12] cancellation of a previously announced dividend,[13] and share trading suspension,[14][15] and announced that 6,000 staff would be made redundant or placed on unpaid leave globally.[16]


[17]The number of foreign tourists who visited Bosnia's Federation in March plummeted 79% on the year, to 9,660, the entity's statistical office said.

Foreign tourists spent 19,089 overnights in the Federation in March, down 77% year-on-year, the Federation's statistical office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The total number of tourists who visited the Federation in March fell by 75% on the year to 16,186. Total tourist overnights decreased by 73% to 31,881.

Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 79% year-on-year.[17]


Bulgaria banned the entry of foreigners in March due to the coronavirus epidemic.[18]

Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 43.7% year-on-year.[19] Travelers from Greece and Serbia on business trips or with family ties, and diplomats, humanitarian and transport workers will be allowed to enter Bulgaria from June 1 without undergoing a 14-day quarantine, said Bulgarian Premier Boyko Borisov.[1]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 64.7% year-on-year.[20]

Cambodia has banned entry of foreign visitors from six countries - the United States, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and Iran - since mid-March and has imposed entry restrictions for all foreigners since March 30 to curb COVID-19.[21]

Cambodia's tourism industry, which amounted to 4.92 billion US dollars, is currently being hit hardest by the ravaging pandemic. A tourism data showed that Cambodia received a total of 223,400 foreign tourists in March, a decrease of 65 percent over the same month last year.[22]


Tourism in China has been hit hard by travel restrictions and fears of contagion, including a ban on both domestic and international tour groups.[23]

Costa RicaEdit

Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 51.4% year-on-year.[24]


Early data indicated that foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 75% year-on-year.[25]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 67.4% year-on-year.[26]

Hong KongEdit

Foreign arrivals in February 2020 fell by 96.4% year-on-year and by 98.6% year-on-year in March 2020.[27][28]


Impact on street- collage of Paharganj, India during October 2017 and April 2020

Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 66.4% year-on-year.[29]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 64.11% year-on-year.[30]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 94% year-on-year.[31] By mid-April, daily arrivals of foreigners had fallen by 99.9% year-on-year.[32]


On 16 March 2020, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture announces that several tourist attraction around Malaysia will remain closed until 30 March 2020 which includes tourist information center, National Arts Gallery, craft centers, Lenggong Archaeological Museum, National Archives of Malaysia, memorial centers and National Library of Malaysia.[33]


The Consejo Nacional Empresarial Turístico (National Tourism Business Council, CNET) sent two letters in March to Alfonso Romo, Chief of Staff to the President of Mexico, outlining the importance of tourism to the economy and asking for government support for the sector. Tourism provides 4 million jobs in Mexico, and 93% of the companies have ten or fewer employees. The pandemic caused the closure of 4,000 hotels (52,400 rooms) and 2,000 restaurants, while the airline industry lost MXN $30 billion (US$1.3 billion) through March.[34]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 65.8% year-on-year.[35]


Foreign arrivals in February 2020 fell by 51.2% year-on-year.[36]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 78% year-on-year.[37]

South KoreaEdit

In South Korea, Korea Association of Travel Agents asked for government support to offset the industry's ballooning losses from a slew of travel cancellations since the COVID-19 pandemic. South Korea's largest travel agencies, Hana Tour and Mode Tour, either, reporting 10 billion won in damage from cancellations.[38]

Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 94.6% year-on-year.[39]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 64% year-on-year.[40]

Sri LankaEdit

Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 70.8% year-on-year.[41]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 76.4% year-on-year, and tourist spending fell 77.6% year-on-year.[42]


Foreign arrivals in March 2020 fell by 67.73% year-on-year.[43]


Foreign arrivals in April 2020 fell by 98.2% year-on-year.[44]

By sectorEdit

A nearly empty flight from Beijing to Los Angeles in March 2020


Casino industryEdit

In Macau, the world's top gambling destination by revenue, all casinos were closed for 15 days in February 2020[45] and suffered a year-on-year revenue drop of 88%, the worst ever recorded in the territory.[46]

On March 17, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos closed for 30 days.[47]

Cruise industryEdit

Cruise lines had to cancel sailings after the outbreak of the pandemic. Bookings and cancellations grew as extensive media coverage of ill passengers on quarantined ships hurt the industry's image. In May 2020, Norwegian Cruise Line posted a quarterly loss of $1.88 billion[48] and warned it may go out of business.[49]

Hotel industryEdit

On April 11, 2020, only 3 percent of hotels in Austin, Texas were occupied. On this date, 342 rooms were occupied, compared to the 10,777 rooms that had been occupied on the same date in 2019.[50]

Rental car industryEdit

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 22, 2020. It had not been given access to the funds that the United States designated to bail out airlines.[51]

Restaurant industryEdit

The pandemic has affected the global food-industry as authorities close down restaurants and bars to slow the spread of the virus. Across the world, restaurants' daily traffic dropped precipitously compared to the same period in 2019.[52] Closures of restaurants caused a ripple-effect among related industries such as food production, liquor-, wine-, and beer-production, food and beverage shipping, fishing, and farming.[53][54]

Tourism despite the pandemicEdit

Some have taken advantage of airlines drastically reducing their fares to travel for leisure despite multiple warnings to remain at home, along with two-week self-quarantine requirements upon arrival or return from travel.[55] A number of college students tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from traditional spring break destinations such as the Florida beaches, South Padre Island, and Cabo San Lucas.[56]

See alsoEdit


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