Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Travel and Tourism Industry


The Covid 19 pandemic has had negative consequences upon all industries globally. Out of all industries, the tourism industry is among the most critically affected ones. Until the entrance of the global pandemic in 2019, tourism and travel were two of the world's greatest markets. Since then, the industry has been performing poorly with many of the businesses in the travel and tourism sector recording huge losses. The travel industry is popular for people who love their environment and geography. The impact of the pandemic on the industry can be viewed in two ways. The impact on the tourist and travelers, and the impact on the people operating travel and tourism companies. All over the world, people travel for leisure during holidays and vacations, to carry out business activities and to enjoy nature. Correspondingly, travel companies facilitate the traveling of tourists while tourist destinations shape the experiences. Notably, the covid pandemic has been a limit to the different participators in the industry. This paper explores the different ways that the Covid pandemic has disrupted travel and tourism activities globally. The paper focuses on the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the pandemic and then suggests policies and practical solutions re-implement the travel and tourism activities during the pandemic.

Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Travel and Tourism Industry

Economic, Social and Environmental Impact of Covid on Tourism/Travel sector. 

Environmental Impact.

The coronavirus pandemic has negative consequences on the environment. The restrictions that have been put by governments as a result of the pandemic have put many ecosystems at risk. Notably, tourism and travel activities are significantly determined by the ecosystem. The ecosystem generally comprises a biological community of interacting organisms together with their physical environment. During the Covid crisis, many natural ecosystems and protected species that attract tourists have been put at risk. In many nations, workers for environmental protection in parks, national reserves, and marine homes are required to remain home during the pandemic period (Williams, 2021). The animal habitat, therefore, remains unmonitored. Also, the absence of protection workers translates to a rise in fishing and wildlife poaching and illegal deforestation. Moreover, the lockdown has led to a stoppage in ecotourism activities, which leaves natural ecosystems at the risk of being illegally harvested and encroached. 

Similarly, lockdown and restrictions have accelerated problems in waste management. There is a rise in the volume of unrecyclable wastes. There has been a severe decline in the level of agricultural and fish exports which are critical players in the travel industry. As a result of these environmental consequences, monitoring and maintaining of natural ecosystems have been halted. Many activities in many municipalities and cities have been crippled as a result of the suspension of recycling processes over the fear of virus spread: this discourages tourism. 

Economic Impact of Covid-19

The greatest impact of the covid pandemic has been felt economically across different nations. In 2019, tourism was the third-largest export after chemicals and fuel, comprising 7% of global trade. In other countries, the tourism and travel sector represents over 20% of GDP (OECD, 2021). Economically, the coronavirus pandemic has affected livelihoods, public service provision, and businesses. Tourism and travel determine the revenue in many countries. Since the covid pandemic began, many countries record a decline in export revenues. According to research, tourism supports one out of ten jobs in both developing and developed economies. In smaller countries tourism and travel accounts for 80% of exports (Ugur & Akbiyik, 2020). Due to the lockdown and the pandemic-related restrictions, 100 million jobs on direct tourism have been lost. The majority of smaller businesses shouldering 80% of global tourism have been rendered vulnerable. Furthermore, the Covid pandemic negatively influenced livelihoods across all nations globally. Research indicates women workers in the travel industry, youth, and the workers of the informal economy to be the most at-risk categories (Ugur & Akbiyik, 2020). The decline in the travel and tourism industry has impacted employment and supply chain income for the countries that heavily rely on the tourism sector. Countries like Madagascar in Africa are Islands separated from the other parts of the continent and normally depend on the tourism and travel sector.  Such countries have experienced a massive recession in the labor market and overall GDP. There are many sub-sectors often involved with the tourism subsector including trade, air transport, construction, accommodation, communication, and transportation. All of these sub-sectors have been negatively influenced by the decline of the tourism sector caused by the Covid pandemic. Besides, the covid pandemic has resulted in the downfall of the world’s largest economies such as China, Canada, and the US, which are heavily reliant on trade. There has been a decline in the trading activities due to the limitation of travel.

Social Impact

The tourism and travel industry is founded on interactions between people. The covid pandemic has therefore posed a great threat to the industry. People often engage in tourism activities by interacting with other cultures and traveling to different communities to enjoy diversity. With the imposition of travel restrictions and lockdown, people can no longer interact freely with one another. Many governments have made it compulsory for travelers to wear masks during journeys and ensure they maintain a social distance from each other to mitigate the spread of the covid. The law of masks and social distancing can only be realized when traveling vessels half their capacity. Also, many tourists can no longer enjoy the beautiful moments of sharing meals at a family Buffet in a hotel as it cannot comply with the social distancing regulations. Travelers and tourists highly esteem comfort. The wearing of masks deprives them of the comfort they want when spending their money or engaging in business-related traveling (Qiu et al., 2021).

Due to the pandemic, many countries and regions have imposed entry bans, quarantines, and many restrictions for citizens of affected countries of those who have had recent visits to the affected countries. Other countries have even enforced global restrictions applying to all other territories to prevent their citizens from traveling overseas. Individuals in different countries have responded to the restrictions by having a   lower willingness to travel. Similarly, the restrictions have resulted in long-term impacts such as declined business travels, international conferencing, and a rise in virtual online events.

Policies, Measures, and Practical Solutions to Re-Implement Travel and Tourism Activities

During the Pandemic

Although the tourism and travel sector has been strongly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, many policies and measures may be taken to rebuild tourism. First, the governments should encourage domestic tourism especially when other countries have banned visits by citizens from other countries. Domestic tourism will help mitigate the impact on jobs and businesses in some destinations. However, the method may not fully recover the tourism activities until international tourism resumes. Global tourism requires global cooperation and evidence-based solutions so that travel restrictions are safely withdrawn (Sharma, Thomas & Paul, 2021). Notably, without continued government support, the survival of businesses in the tourism ecosystem is at risk. Governments of different countries should focus on cushioning the tourism and travel sector from further blows from the Covid pandemic. Some of the key policy priorities include aiming to restore traveler confidence, strengthening the cooperation between countries, providing the traveler with clear information, supporting tourism and travel businesses, and helping them adapt and survive, as well as building more resilient and sustainable tourism.

Another ingredient to the implementation of the travel and tourism industry is ensuring ecological protection. Unguarded protected areas have led to increases in nature-based crime. As wildlife tourism declines, the revenue streams of conservation have also dried up. Therefore, there is a need for stringent laws for biodiversity. Similarly, the government in different countries should rethink flying. The governments should do tax reforms to relieve frequent flyers. Currently, many aviation companies are become bankrupt, which is resulting in increased demand for government bailouts (OECD, 2021). The government should create access to liquidity support and fiscal relief through loans and grants, and other forms of support for tourism workers. Removal of travel restrictions is also necessary for the reimplementation of the tourism and travel sector (Sharma & Nicolau, 2020).

To revive the tourism and travel industry, governments need to ensure transparency and consistent information on the protocol. The resuming of tourism demands that travelers and employees in the tourism industry be confident about safety. Presently, there are commendable actions by international organizations such as the International Air and Transport Association (IATA) in developing an array of guidelines that serve as the baseline for these regulations (OECD, 2021). According to surveys conducted in different countries, the anxiety of participators in the travel and tourism industry remains very high. Researchers not the presence of a significant gap between the confidence of travelers and how they would like to feel. One of the reasons for low confidence levels is the confusion of safety measures being put in place.


The covid pandemic is a novel pandemic that has severely impacted all industries across the globe. Tourism, being the third most influential sector has had the most severe damage as a result of the covid pandemic. This paper has explored the social, environmental, and economic impact of the pandemic on the travel and tourism industry. The paper has also recommended policies and effective ways to re-implement travel and tourism activities during the pandemic.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post