In December 2020, a deadly virus known as Sars-Cov-2 started emerging as a deadly mutation of the MERS virus. By March 2020, every country in the world shut down their countries, restricting travel, movement, gatherings, and public activities. In the wake of a health crisis that has killed millions of people throughout the world, the global economy was shut down.
Impact Of Covid 19 On Developing Countries
With international tourism put on hold for most of 2020, the travel industry, particularly the aviation sector was hit hard. That year, global tourism declined by a staggering 73%, or around 1 billion in numbers.
The tourism industry of developing countries like India suffered from the pandemic as arrivals in the country declined to about 60-80%. Moreover, the shortage of vaccines has been another concern in such nations with the uneven rollout of vaccines.
This has served a hard blow to the economy, especially the tourism sector. It was announced in recent research that the travel and tourism industry in India could have 38 million job losses due to the pandemic. The pandemic dealt a huge blow to the tourism sector in India with ripple effects felt through most related sectors.
Effect on Covid-19 by sector
1.) Aviation industry: Since 2010, air demand has risen steadily up until the pandemic struck. It is already estimated that by the fourth quarter of 2021, the airline industry will suffer a global loss of over $82 billion.
According to some reports, many airlines worldwide could be forced into bankruptcy as a result, leading to the closure of some or a reduction of their fleets. Refunds for cancellations have already been reported by many airlines refusing them. There is a further forecast that airline demand may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
2.) Hotel industry: With the announcement of travel restrictions, everyone hampered across to their home, including employees and staff of companies. This caused many hotels to shut down due to their staff never returning, or the sudden lack of any kind of revenue for them.
Hotels were shut down for most of 2020 globally and though globally 84% of hotels have resumed business, the occupancy rate is low.
This caused many hotels worldwide to lower their tariffs. As of June 2021, it has been observed that the occupancy rate is higher in economic hotels than the luxury ones. This can be attributed to better demand and lower operational costs. Additionally, investors are reluctant to put their money on the hotel industry with shareholder confidence low.
3.) Cruising industry: The cruising industry had to cancel bookings due to the pandemic in 2020. As many as 40 cruise ships by mid-2020 had reported Coronavirus cases in their ships.
Many cruise ships like the Diamond Princess and Artania had to quarantine on-shore in Yokohama and London respectively. News of infected crew members and people on-board these ships living in risky conditions also damaged the public view of the industry as a whole, particularly when cruise liners refused to cover the cost of repatriation.
4.) Restaurant industry: Restaurants have probably created some of the most lasting impacts of all the travel and tourism sectors. Last year, 110,00 restaurants in India closed permanently as a result of the pandemic. The sector as a whole is preparing for the short-term as well as long-term impact. As more establishments reopen, the focus is shifting to maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the premises. Government mandates for public spaces like hand sanitizing stations and regular disinfections would stay.
After all, any health crisis in an establishment could ruin the business and its reputation completely. Other measures like sterilization and disinfection of kitchenwares, digital menus, and app-based reservations and deliveries are also expected to grow in popularity.
5.) Other sectors: Other related industries like car rentals and casinos also saw a significant drop in numbers. Businesses around the world suffered huge losses with many filing for bankruptcy. Macau, the world’s gambling destination suffered a loss of 88% in revenue, the worst in the history of the region.
Every economic sector suffered during the pandemic, and the travel industry was no exception. The UN, back in June had already stated that the impact of the pandemic could have dealt a $4 trillion blow to the global economy, a staggering amount.
Tourism is slowly restarting in many parts of the world, and countries are gradually lifting travel restrictions. Safety must remain the primary concern, and coordinated health protocols must provide protection. We will be able to transform tourism if we act collectively and foster international cooperation to make it more inclusive and carbon-neutral, embracing local values and communities, and generating decent jobs for all. The more we come together, the stronger we are.
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