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Fact sheet: 2022 national travel and tourism strategy, office of public affairs.

The 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy was released on June 6, 2022, by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo on behalf of the Tourism Policy Council (TPC). The new strategy focuses the full efforts of the federal government to promote the United States as a premier destination grounded in the breadth and diversity of our communities, and to foster a sector that drives economic growth, creates good jobs, and bolsters conservation and sustainability. Drawing on engagement and capabilities from across the federal government, the strategy aims to support broad-based economic growth in travel and tourism across the United States, its territories, and the District of Columbia.

Key points of the 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy

The federal government will work to implement the strategy under the leadership of the TPC and in partnership with the private sector, aiming toward an ambitious five-year goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 90 million international visitors, who we estimate will spend $279 billion, annually by 2027.

The new National Travel and Tourism Strategy supports growth and competitiveness for an industry that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, generated $1.9 trillion in economic output and supported 9.5 million American jobs. Also, in 2019, nearly 80 million international travelers visited the United States and contributed nearly $240 billion to the U.S. economy, making the United States the global leader in revenue from international travel and tourism. As the top services export for the United States that year, travel and tourism generated a $53.4 billion trade surplus and supported 1 million jobs in the United States.

The strategy follows a four-point approach:

  • Promoting the United States as a Travel Destination Goal : Leverage existing programs and assets to promote the United States to international visitors and broaden marketing efforts to encourage visitation to underserved communities.
  • Facilitating Travel to and Within the United States Goal : Reduce barriers to trade in travel services and make it safer and more efficient for visitors to enter and travel within the United States.
  • Ensuring Diverse, Inclusive, and Accessible Tourism Experiences Goal : Extend the benefits of travel and tourism by supporting the development of diverse tourism products, focusing on under-served communities and populations. Address the financial and workplace needs of travel and tourism businesses, supporting destination communities as they grow their tourism economies. Deliver world-class experiences and customer service at federal lands and waters that showcase the nation’s assets while protecting them for future generations.
  • Fostering Resilient and Sustainable Travel and Tourism Goal : Reduce travel and tourism’s contributions to climate change and build a travel and tourism sector that is resilient to natural disasters, public health threats, and the impacts of climate change. Build a sustainable sector that integrates protecting natural resources, supporting the tourism economy, and ensuring equitable development.

Travel and Tourism Fast Facts

  • The travel and tourism industry supported 9.5 million American jobs through $1.9 trillion of economic activity in 2019. In fact, 1 in every 20 jobs in the United States was either directly or indirectly supported by travel and tourism. These jobs can be found in industries like lodging, food services, arts, entertainment, recreation, transportation, and education.
  • Travel and tourism was the top services export for the United States in 2019, generating a $53.4 billion trade surplus.
  • The travel and tourism industry was one of the U.S. business sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent health and travel restrictions, with travel exports decreasing nearly 65% from 2019 to 2020. 
  • The decline in travel and tourism contributed heavily to unemployment; leisure and hospitality lost 8.2 million jobs between February and April 2020 alone, accounting for 37% of the decline in overall nonfarm employment during that time. 
  • By 2021, the rollout of vaccines and lifting of international and domestic restrictions allowed travel and tourism to begin its recovery. International arrivals to the United States grew to 22.1 million in 2021, up from 19.2 million in 2020. Spending by international visitors also grew, reaching $81.0 billion, or 34 percent of 2019’s total.

More about the Tourism Policy Council and the 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy

Created by Congress and chaired by Secretary Raimondo, the Tourism Policy Council (TPC) is the interagency council charged with coordinating national policies and programs relating to travel and tourism. At the direction of Secretary Raimondo, the TPC created a new five-year strategy to focus U.S. government efforts in support of the travel and tourism sector which has been deeply and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full strategy here

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Reviving tourism industry post-COVID-19: A resilience-based framework

Gagan deep sharma.

a University School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Sector 16C, Dwarka, New Delhi, India

Asha Thomas

b Jagan Institute of Management Studies, Sector 5, Rohini, New Delhi, India

Justin Paul

c University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, USA

The COVID-19 pandemic struck the tourism industry severely. Based on the review of 35 papers that studied the tourism industry in the wake of the pandemic, we propose a resilience-based framework for reviving the global tourism industry post-COVID-19. Our framework outlines four prominent factors for building resilience in the industry: government response, technology innovation, local belongingness, and consumer and employee confidence. We argue that using such inclusive resilience; the tourism industry may transform into a new global economic order characterized by sustainable tourism, society's well-being, climate action, and the involvement of local communities. We also offer directions for future research in the area.

1. Introduction

The outbreak of COVID-19 has posed critical health challenges worldwide. The pandemic is one of the most highly contagious outbreaks in recent human history, with more than 46 million cases and 1.2 million deaths (as on 31st October 2020) ( https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ ). Given the high speed of transmission of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), governments worldwide have had no other option but to impose lockdowns. The spread of the virus has severely threatened lives, and measures such as lockdowns have posed a critical risk to the masses' livelihoods ( Sharma & Mahendru, 2020 ). The economic shocks of the pandemic are being observed across all industries and sectors worldwide. While some industries can adapt to digital platforms and continue their struggle for survival ( Mehrolia, Alagarsamy, & Solaikutty, 2020 ), a few industries have encountered unprecedented failures due to travel restrictions and social distancing, thereby finding it extremely difficult to survive the pandemic. Tourism is one industry that cannot hold its ground without the mobility of tourists. The fall of 22% in tourist numbers in the first quarter of 2020 (compared to the same quarter of 2019), and the threat of 60% to 80% fall throughout 2020 (compared to 2019), are some indications of the havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic can cause for the global tourism industry ( World Tourism Organization, 2020 ). Tourism is one of the most labour-intensive sectors. Such a slowdown for the industry may put millions of jobs at risk, thereby threatening to roll back the progress made on the front of sustainable development goals ( World Tourism Organization, 2020 ).

As indicated by Rivera (2020) , examining the hospitality and tourism industries in the pandemic context is of paramount importance. Researchers have started to focus on this area, yet there is only limited work available so far. A search query on the Web of Science database yielded no more than 45 results that studied the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry. These studies are also observed to be all over the place, which poses a directional challenge for scholarship in the area. Such variance in studies fails to significantly enrich the body of knowledge, thereby proving to be of limited use to policymakers and practitioners.

The WHO (2017) recommends rapid reviews to provide timely evidence for policymakers to respond to the emergency. Since the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to be particularly fatal for the tourism industry, a rapid review of the available literature is highly recommended. Such a review will not merely consolidate the findings of the existing studies but also provide insights and directions for future researchers to focus on the appropriate problems plaguing the sector.

The above discussion drives our motivation to perform a review of the challenges being faced by the global tourism industry in the wake of COVID-19. The research questions for our study are set as follows:

To observe the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry by studying the emerging body of knowledge in the field;

To suggest a policy framework that enables market players and governments worldwide to cope with the challenges emerging for the global tourism industry from the outbreak of the pandemic.

Out of the 47 papers found on the Web of Science database, we discovered that 10 do not meet the inclusion criteria (detailed in the methodology section). We rigorously reviewed 37 papers to synthesize their findings and propose a framework for further advancement of the scholarship in this area. Our results reveal that the pandemic has created severe roadblocks for the tourism industry, and the way ahead seems to be rocky. We learn that this challenge may open the doors for local tourism, eco-tourism, and sustainable tourism, which have long been part of the discussion but have failed to take any tangible shape so far. Four significant themes emerge from our work, namely, sustainable tourism, climate action, transformation to the new global economic order, and resilience. We make a significant theoretical and practical contribution to the field by suggesting a coping-up mechanism, which revolves around resilience. Our framework includes resilience from market players, governments, non-government agencies, and all other stakeholders.

The remainder of our paper is organized as follows: The next section discusses the methodology of our work, the third section presents the thematic discussion, the fourth section highlights the future research agenda, and the last section concludes by outlining the policy framework to deal with the challenges emerging from COVID-19 for the tourism industry.

2. Methodology

The systematic reviewing methodology is followed in this paper. The advent of this methodology in the field of management is recent ( Paul & Criado, 2020 ; Tranfield, Denyer, & Smart, 2003 ). This methodology is driven by its merits in the form of systematic, transparent, and replicable review ( Cook, Greengold, Ellrodt, & Weingarten, 1997 ; Cook, Mulrow, & Haynes, 1997 ; Hao & al, 2019 ; Wolf, Shea, & Albanese, 2001 ). It is also inspired by prior review articles ( Bansal, Garg, & Sharma, 2019 ; Dhaliwal, Singh, & Paul, 2020 ; Gilal, Zhang, Paul, & Gilal, 2019 ; Jain, Sharma, & Mahendru, 2019 ; Paul & Feliciano-Cestero, 2020 ; Paul & Mas, 2020 ; Rosado-Serrano, Paul, & Dikova, 2018 ; Talan & Sharma, 2019 ; Thomas & Paul, 2019 ).

Records were searched employing the Web of Science database. The usage of this database ensures a consistent standard for the articles. Using keywords like “COVID-19,” “tourism,” “hospitality,” and “coronavirus,” we found 47 records. Since the problem of COVID-19 pertains to 2020, the records are fewer in number. Nevertheless, given the mandate of the WHO for rapid reviews, we consider it worthwhile to conduct a review in this pivotal field. These records were then screened through titles and abstracts. It was discovered that 37 papers fell within our theme, while the remaining 10 did not. These 37 papers were selected for further analysis. These papers are shown in Table 1 .

Reviewed papers.

To arrive at the appropriate themes studied in the selected papers, we ran a cluster analysis on these papers' keywords through the VOS viewer project developed by Leiden University, the Netherlands. Through this approach, we came up with four clusters, namely, sustainable tourism, climate action, transformation to the new global economic order, and resilience. We use these clusters as the themes for our work, and group the keywords of the 35 records within these themes, which drive the thematic discussion of our study.

This analysis leads to the development of three clusters as detailed in Table 2 .

Keywords and clusters.

3. Thematic discussion

Fig. 1 exhibits the prominent keywords clustered into three groups. First, the focus of research has been around the future of tourism, wherein the body of knowledge is concerned about the future of tourism sector, specifically in the context of communities and the cause of sustainability. Second, the scholarship is engaged in deliberating on the issues of resilience, mobility, degrowth, and sustainable tourism. Finally, there is an ongoing discussion around geopolitics, climate change, and transformation to the new situation through a reset of the sector. We use these keywords to draw two major themes, comprising four sub-themes, as exhibited in Fig. 2 . This thematic discussion is presented below.

Fig. 1

Clusters of keywords used by the reviewed literature.

Fig. 2

Thematic framework.

3.1. Resilience

The business world recognizes resilience as a crisis management tool/strategy for business stability and adaptability to all types of risks, during natural disasters and emergencies. Furthermore, business resilience is linked to the organization's ability to adapt to the environment and new circumstances to mitigate the effects of the incident ( Supardi, Kudus, Hadi, & Indonesia, 2020 ). Resilience strategies require coordination, various crisis management techniques, good relationships (among all stakeholders), a comprehensive network, recognition of risks and opportunities, and timely and scalable intervention ( Alves, Lok, Luo, & Hao, 2020 ; Fitriasari, 2020 ). The literature on resilience identifies proactive, absorptive/adaptive, reactive, or dynamic attributes of resilience ( Supardi et al., 2020 ).

Historically, the tourism industry has quickly bounced back after disasters, pandemics, and epidemics like Ebola, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Local, regional, or national governments are aiding in the industry's recovery by luring investors through tax breaks, lenient land-use rules, etc. ( Brouder, 2020 ; Ioannides & Gyimóthy, 2020 ). Before international travel can resume, domestic tourism will boost the resumption of the tourism industry in the wake of the pandemic. Other factors, including technological resilience, local belongingness, and customer and employee confidence, may help build industry resilience, which is the need of the hour.

3.1.1. Governments' response to COVID-19: A new outlook

Businesses across industries are looking forward to “business as usual”, and the tourism industry is no exception. All the industries are banking largely upon “government stimulus packages and interventions” to improve their productivity. For instance, TUI, the world's most prominent multinational tourism organization, is taking the UK and German governments' aid and has announced cost reduction in its operations across the world ( Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020 ). The government has become a significant role player in the economy of tourism ( Table 3 ). This has resulted in the re-nationalization of airlines, tourism firms, and networks like airports. This is something different in comparison to earlier crises, which created curiosity in research and institutions and had no “policy impact,” particularly in the tourism industry ( Hall et al., 2020 ). Tsionas (2020) discusses post-COVID-19 problems and mentions that “opening at limited capacity” of almost 33% is a good option. He proposes that government subsidies would be needed to support such lower capacities. There has been massive government intervention in the working and operation of the tourism industry during the COVID-19 crisis ( Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020 ). Discussing Macao's reaction to the pandemic in a “3-wave analogy,” McCartney (2020) observes that the wave of recovery will push toward “public-private partnership and cooperation.” In future, the effect of such governmental response on tourism will create a novel outlook.

Government response to COVID-19. (Source : OEDC, 2020)

3.1.2. Technology innovation

Technology is a major force in creating flexibility in the tourism industry ( Hall et al., 2020 ). Disasters help in speeding up changes in technology. During COVID-19, people have taken massive aid from technology experts. There are instances of robots replacing people, applications on mobiles being employed to track people's contacts, or Big Data analytics forecasting COVID-19 spread among the masses. Robot, automation technologies, and artificial intelligence can reduce cost, improve liquidity, and enhance flexibility. This will also help maintain social distancing ( Assaf & Scuderi, 2020 ; Thomas & Chopra, 2020 ), as technology can connect people without any physical contact. Thus, technology can handle pandemic-specific problems such as screening travellers, discovering COVID-19 cases and tracking contacts, ensuring online education for students, etc. ( Hall et al., 2020 ). Many reports show a surge in the public's trust in technology, their readiness to connect, and their willingness to change their attitudes toward technology. People have now started ignoring privacy issues to get a more significant technology benefit ( Stankov et al., 2020 ). Gretzel et al. (2020) has presented the “six transformative e-tourism research pillars” for bringing in changes in e-tourism by proactively using IT resources for short-term and long-term purposes.

3.1.3. Local belongingness

The global aspect seems broken that calls for local belongingness to come to the rescue ( Brouder et al., 2020 ; Chang et al., 2020 ). During the pandemic and post-COVID-19, domestic tourism is poised to dominate the scene with most travellers coming from nearby areas ( Haywood, 2020 ). In many places, domestic travel is limited to visiting friends and relatives, but this will expand to leisure tourism soon. International travel will gradually revive when the borders open and international flights are permitted to operate without any hindrances ( Baum & Hai, 2020 ). Many countries and regions have restricted movements by imposing bans and other stringent requirements on entry and exit, which has subtly impacted the global tourism industry. According to Higgins-Desbiolles (2020) and Baum and Hai (2020) , the right to travel or enjoy gainful employment in the hospitality and tourism industry will not be allowed in the near-immediate future. “Tourism bubbles,” or local links built during the disaster, will act as a flexible plan. Future travel will depend on combined self-care, such as the suggestion to open the Trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand ( Carr, 2020 ), or the potential fast-tracking of immigration clearance between the Republic of Korea and China ( Mostafanezhad et al., 2020 ). The feeling of belongingness among locals will dictate terms for the revival of the tourism industry.

3.1.4. Consumer and employee confidence

It is essential to gain consumer confidence to restart the halted industry of tourism. Learning from disaster planning and fighting the drive to turn away from failures experienced in the future are the critical pathways to be followed ( Rivera, 2020 ). The revival of the tourism industry will depend on boosting confidence in travelling and lessening the perception of risk involved ( Assaf & Scuderi, 2020 ). The impact of COVID-19 influences consumers' perception of tourism product and services ( Yu et al., 2020 ). Mao et al. (2020) focuses on human capital and gaining employee confidence.

3.2. Transformation to the new global economic order

Transformations like restarting, reorganizing, and assimilating the tourism industry according to the latest standards and rules are required to revive the industry ( Lew et al., 2020 ). The renewal will be impacted by the government's response to climate change and the need for a carbon-free economy. After the pandemic, the global economic and political systems will encompass changing patterns concerning climate change mitigation, sustainable tourism, local communities, and society's well-being.

3.2.1. Sustainable tourism

The present times are the most appropriate to promote a sustainable and equitable tourism industry ( Benjamin et al., 2020 ). As per Carr (2020) , original cultural sites suggest happiness, physical condition, environmental responsibility, and conventional ecological information. Such sites form the future of “cultural sustainability” and it is essential to manage these prudently for the development of the economy. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the tourism industry is bound to be reorganized based on actual planning and not just paperwork. The industry needs to be oriented toward education, environmental and social justice, and racial healing. There is a need for wary people (For instance, tourists, local communities, SMEs, Government) to take advantage of the present grave situation as it will allow more tourist experiences. The industry's service providers need to be encouraged to push a new demand by changing their unsustainable product offers. Such measures can connect, support, and take care of the whole tourism industry to everyone's advantage ( Stankov et al., 2020 ). The market players should also confront the means and systems that will prevent and transform harmful and weak tourism ( Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020 ). There is an essential requirement for a charter for setting up a stable and sustainable tourism industry. There is a disconnect between what UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) is preaching (sustainability) and what is exercising (growth expansion). These disconnects need to be understood and repaired before considering tourism's future ( Brouder et al., 2020 ; Nepal, 2020 ). The ongoing impermanent process of deglobalization has presented the tourism industry with a unique opportunity to recreate sustainability by leaving aside the “dark sides” of recent years, such as environmental deprivation, economic abuse, or congestion ( Niewiadomski, 2020 ). Sustainability is a continuous procedure to attain positive outcomes and is defined by changing beliefs, wishes, information, skills, and public awareness ( Galvani et al., 2020 ). Expert knowledge and experience ( Chang et al., 2020 ; Prideaux et al., 2020 ) need to be put into practice for shifting toward sustainable tourism.

3.2.2. Well-being of society

The South American concept Buen Vivir was examined by Everingham and Chassagne (2020) . This is a non-Western alternative to neoliberal capitalism for moving tourism priorities from economic growth to the welfare of, and meaningful connections in, the society at large and covering the ecological balance. The impact of COVID-19 is such that how people live and travel has changed completely. Preferences are now shifting toward connecting and shopping locally. The virus has offered an opportunity to the tourism industry to recreate and contribute to society's welfare ( Benjamin et al., 2020 ; Rowen, 2020 ). Life, health, environment, etc., are the focused areas during disasters. According to Benjamin et al. (2020) , it is essential to select a program that encourages sustainable and equitable development where people can acknowledge the planet and shift their current unsustainable views on tourism. In addition, Benjamin et al. (2020) point out that the change should concentrate on equity. This will necessitate positive and slow changes relating to systems' interconnectedness, where economic growth is not considered a default parameter of social and ecological well-being ( Cheer, 2020 ). The scholarship in the field of tourism needs to acknowledge tourism as an industry with a focus on societal well-being ( Benjamin et al., 2020 ).

3.2.3. Climate action

The pandemic's effect is worsening due to global climate changes ( Sharma et al., 2020 ; Sharma & Mahendru, 2020 ; Sharma, Talan, Srivastava, Yadav, & Chopra, 2020 ). Crossley (2020) studies the connection between pandemic and climate change and explores how the damage done to the environment can be repaired and can be attached to ecological grief. Emotional dynamics can further help understand tourists' behavior, covering the constant “attitude-behavior” gap concerning sustainable tourism. COVID-19 offers an opportunity to tackle the impact of climate change by shifting from the present model of “high resource consumption” to one that is “environmentally friendly” ( Gössling et al., 2020 ; Prideaux et al., 2020 ).

3.2.4. Local communities – the centres of transformation.

Local communities are the centres of transformation for the tourism industry during this pandemic. There may be future disagreements in local areas as tourists take the help of these local communities and governments for their business. Changes being considered by tourist destinations relating to modifications in a carbon-free economy are significant (Rideau et al., 2020). Changes at the local level may help restore neocolonial and neoliberal biases ( Everingham & Chassagne, 2020 ; Renaud, 2020 ; Tremblay-Huet, 2020 ).

Since the tourism industry has come to a halt and social distancing acts are relevant, even small-scale local-level activity is considered harmful. People have to think about the local community at large ( Lapointe, 2020 ). According to Renaud (2020) , the industry of cruise tourism should approve a “local mobility” model, which means that large cruise ships will be forbidden, but a fleet of smaller ships will be allowed. During the pandemic, social unity, self-sacrifice, and a sympathetic attitude are as significant as wearing a face mask to protect oneself and others. Post-COVID-19 times will allow service providers to rethink and reset the tourism industry for the future. There is a need for a “community-centered tourism framework” with responsible approaches to reset, redescribe, and refamiliarize the tourism industry in the interest of local communities. A deeper understanding of remote communities' challenges and acts may help transform the sector ( Tremblay-Huet, 2020 ). Some research studies consider these times as a defining moment for resetting the industry of tourism ( Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020 ). Developed countries are considering domestic or “proximity tourism” based on local thought and local acting theory.

4. A resilience-based framework for the new global economic order

Based on literature review, we propose a resilience-based framework for the new global economic order ( Fig. 3 ). This framework stems from the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the containment measures (such as lockdown) to the global tourism industry. The advisories issued to the tourists by various governments have further added fuel to the fire, resulting in the decline of revenues ( World Tourism Organization, 2020 ). The tourism industry seems to have moved from “over-tourism” to “non-tourism” at once ( Gössling et al., 2020 ). The increasing unemployment in other sectors of the global economy will also reflect in the number of tourist visits in the coming years. Segments of the tourism industry, including airlines, hospitality, sports events, restaurants, and cruises, are bound to be hammered by the pandemic. The proposed resilience-based framework can help transform the industry both during and after COVID-19.

Fig. 3

Resilience-based framework for the new global economic order.

Organizational studies are focusing on sustainable change deal with resilience and deployment of adaptive capabilities by providing insights into recovery responses. Crises and emergencies such as COVID-19 also extend global visibility and understanding. This pandemic will contribute to creating new business models, which will essentially determine the industry's chances of survival by transforming it into a much more sustainable form. The tourism industry needs to demonstrate resilience from several sides. We broadly propose that three segments, namely, governments, market players, and local communities, need to get their act together to lend resilience to the industry. Technological innovations need to rise to a higher level for speeding up creations in tourism and hospitality. Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), and technologies relating to location, navigation, drones, and robotics, are a few areas that need enhancements. This can promote flexible thinking within the tourism industry. This pandemic has compelled industry leaders to explore and analyze other better-suited technologies to reboot the industry and regain consumer confidence. Existing literature notes that the tourism industry has previously been quick to bounce back from the shocks of epidemics, pandemics, and global crises. However, governments realize that the shock of COVID-19 is unique since it is not possible to market the unsold capacity in coming years, causing a permanent setback for the industry. Governments should strive to build an atmosphere in which they attract investors through a variety of opportunities in the prevalent spirit of neoliberalism, such as offering tax breaks, relaxing strict land-use laws, etc. ( Brouder, 2020 ). Governments may promote the local embeddedness of tourism businesses to improve the element of belongingness. Supporting these arguments, Di Domenico, Haugh, and Tracey (2010) observe that local economies react to crises by working together and through social work, and Johannisson and Olaison (2007) note that rural firms have better prospects of recovery than their urban counterparts. Henceforth, the support from the government, coupled with local belongingness, may pave the way for the transformation of the tourism industry. The challenge is different for large-scale multinational players in the industry, focusing on local supply chains to minimize the costs. They may need to review their activities and rely on narrower and sub-national supply chains. This may include sourcing more resources locally, be it food, raw materials, service providers, or the composition of the workforce. Post-pandemic times may entail a long-term decrease in the appeal of certain growth spots now deemed too risky. Such a situation may augur well for less popular, less populated regions by providing them the opportunity to improve their appeal as potential tourism destinations.

Resilience from all sides of the value-chain may transform the tourism industry into the new global economic order characterized by sustainable tourism, climate action, societal well-being, and involvement of local communities. Studies have observed that the tourism industry indirectly contributes to pandemics in multiple ways, including food wastages leading to industrialized food production ( Hall & Gössling, 2013 ), human interference with wildlife and deforestation ( Barlow et al., 2016 ; Lade et al., 2020 ), and climate change conditions ( Scott, Hall, & Gössling, 2019 ). The lockdown in many countries and the adoption of significant restrictions on borders has also drastically affected the tourism economy worldwide. The movement from “over-tourism” to “under-tourism” is bound to reverse the scene of climate change to a large extent ( Hall & Gössling, 2013 ). COVID-19 is leading to some positive outcomes for the tourism industry. Declined demand in the aviation industry is already causing airlines to phase out outdated aircraft. Restrictions on overseas travel for international students, business travellers, political leaders, etc., are leading to increased leverage from video-conferencing ( Banister & Stead, 2004 ; Cohen, Hanna, & Gössling, 2018 ). These changes are bound to reorient the global tourism industry in a “sustainable” way, which focuses more on inclusive development, rather than the abstract notion of “growth.” Carbon footprint reductions may gain more traction worldwide, as is already seen across main tourist destinations. Similarly, the mobility of visitors could transform significantly, not only in the immediate future but over a long period. The relentless neophilia and the disturbing desire for (often irresponsible) exploration in distant places may be replaced by recreation and travel much closer to home.

5. Future research agenda

COVID-19 has triggered unprecedented casualties for mankind in life-changing circumstances. The shock and effect of this pandemic are so strong that research work across all fields is subject to pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 classifications. The post-COVID-19 research is bound to be characterized by economic, environmental, and social setbacks, and the policy suggestions to counter those. Given the tourism industry's sensitivity to this pandemic situation, the body of knowledge in the field of tourism needs some quick and sound work to prepare for the future. Following most downloaded review articles ( Dhaliwal et al., 2020 ; Paul & Benito, 2018 ), we provide directions for future research in this section to set up an interesting future research agenda for the research in the tourism industry in the post-COVID-19 period. It is important to examine how businesses can translate this crisis chaos into transformative innovation. Never before has tourism research felt the need to hold its purpose as much as today.

Post-crisis tourism research must align academic and corporate interests. We present the future research agenda in two segments. One, based on the gaps in the existing literature, we present the research questions for tourism research to explore different sub-topics in the context of COVID-19. Two, we present a research agenda to test our resilience-based framework ( Table 4 ) and derive propositions which can be used as testable hypotheses in future studies by others.

Themes and research questions for future scholarship in tourism and COVID-19.

Future researchers may test the resilience-based framework in line with Fig. 3 . Using the tenets included in the resilience framework, we derive propositions in this study which can be used as either research questions or hypotheses in future studies.

Tourism industry has to resort to internal measures, including technology innovation and building consumer and employee confidence, to build resilience to fight COVID-19;

External factors, including government measures and local belongingness, significantly contribute to the tourism industry's quest for resilience to revive from the COVID-19 shock;

Resilience strategies based on internal and external factors mediate the revival of the tourism industry from the shock of COVID-19 by transforming it to the new global economic order, which comprises sustainable tourism, the well-being of society, mitigating climate change, and strengthening of local communities.

These topical ideations can be actualized by applying versatile methodologies. The case-study method is by far the most prominently used method in tourism research in the context of a crisis. However, as suggested by most of the related works ( Haywood, 2020 ; Nepal, 2020 ; Rivera, 2020 ; Tsionas, 2020 ), it would be advisable to employ conceptual, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods to inform the questions about the contemporary tourism industry.

6. Conclusion

The tourism industry was seen as a major cause and carrier of the novel coronavirus that triggered the outbreak of COVID-19. The unsustainable practices of the industry didn't help the cause of sustainable living worldwide. The pandemic has nearly brought the global tourism industry to a halt. All stakeholders in the industry must work together to make the industry sufficiently resilient to deal with the crisis. Based on the studies conducted to understand the tourism industry in the context of COVID-19, we propose a resilience-based framework for the industry. Through our framework, we argue that with the help of the resilient approach from governments, market players, technology innovators, and the workforce employed in the industry, the tourism sector may end up evolving in a much more sustainable way post-pandemic. The involvement of local communities is going to be immensely critical in this journey, as the restrictions on international travel may stay longer than anticipated. Such developments would widen not only the base of the tourism industry but also present opportunities for less-developed tourism spots to grow further. Large-scale tourism players would need a reboot to survive in post-pandemic times. Still, acting in line with our resilience-based framework, small-scale players certainly can emerge victorious and ensure the well-being of the society at large while also facilitating sustainable tourism.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

The authors declare that no funding were received for this research.


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Gagan Deep Sharma is an Associate Professor at the University School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India. His fields of research interest includes Systematic reviewing, Sustainable development, Resliience-based strategy, Neuroeconomics, and Behavioural economics.

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Asha Thomas is Assistant Professor at Jagan Institute of Management Studies (JIMS), New Delhi. Her areas of research interest include knowledge management, Organizational behavior, Marketing. She has about 12 years of experience in teaching, as well as over 3 years of experience in IT and Telecom Industry. She is currently pursuing Doctorate program as a Part-time Research Scholar from the prestigious Delhi Technological University. She has several national and international research papers to her credit. She has also presented papers in National and International Conferences. She also serves as reviewer for several top international journals.

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Justin Paul , serves as Editor-in-chief of International Journal of Consumer studies and as an Associate Editor of Journal of Business Research. He is a full professor of PHD & MBA programs, University of Puerto Rico, USA. He holds three honorary titles as ‘Distinguished Professor’ with three reputed universities- Indian Institute of Management (IIM—K) and SIBM, Pune and MS university in TN state of India. He has published over 100 articles in SSCI listed journals. He is an author of 8 books. He has served as a faculty member with University of Washington and Rollins college, Florida, USA. His website is drjustinpaul.com.

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COVID-19 tourism spend recovery in numbers

Tourism expenditure may be up but recovery to 2019 levels may be as late as 2024.

1. Address traveler concerns

While post-COVID-19 tourism recovery will be primarily driven by the strength of the economic recovery, five key drivers are likely to impact the recovery trajectory (Exhibit 1). Managing those concerns is key to driving a turnaround in tourism.

2. The recovery could be slow

An optimistic recovery scenario, combining rapid virus containment and rebounding economies, will see recovery to 85 percent of 2019 volumes in by 2021 and a full recovery by 2023 (Exhibit 2). Under a pessimistic recovery scenario, 2021 levels can be as low as 60 percent of 2019, further postponing the recovery.

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3. domestic tourism will likely recover faster.

Domestic tourism will return to precrisis levels around one to two years earlier than outbound travel. Multiple factors drive this: fewer restrictions for travel within own country, more substitution options for nonair-based travel (such as cars and trains), anxiety, and a larger share of business travel. In addition, domestic travel is expected to recover faster than hotel as we see a substitution toward vacation rentals and friends and family in certain markets.

4. Recovery speeds will vary across markets

Impact will likely vary across countries, with fast recoverees supported by robust domestic0tourism sectors and high-quality networks of land transport (Exhibit 3).

Reimagining the $9 trillion tourism economy—what will it take?

Reimagining the $9 trillion tourism economy—what will it take?

5. dependence on domestic travel and nonair travel will likely determine recovery.

Before the crisis, different markets had different dependencies on domestic tourism and air traffic (Exhibit 4). This structure drives the recovery speeds as cross-country restrictions and safety concerns are determining air traffic.

Structural and macroeconomic factors will continue to determine tourism recovery. Meanwhile, industry leaders can seek to improve their rate of recovery through a variety of measures including improving perception of air-travel safety, actively promoting domestic destinations, and ensuring government and insurance policies guarantee access to healthcare—even away from home.

Urs Binggeli is a senior knowledge expert in McKinsey’s Zurich office, Margaux Constantin is an associate partner in the Dubai office, and Eliav Pollack is a consultant in the Amsterdam office.

The authors wish to thank Celine Birkl and Steffen Kopke for their contributions to this article.

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  • Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs)
  • Māori Business Response Tāpoi
  • The 3 business initiatives
  • Case studies: March 2022
  • Regional Events Fund
  • Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme
  • Documents relating to the Tourism Recovery Package
  • The Tourism Futures Taskforce interim report – We are Aotearoa
  • Terms of reference for New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce

2021 support - Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan

The Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan targets 5 New Zealand communities and the businesses that are part of those communities.

On this page

The 5 communities are: Queenstown Lakes, Southland (focussing around Te Anau and Fiordland), Kaikōura, Mackenzie, and Westland (focussing around Fox Glacier and Franz Josef).

These communities were identified because of the high dependence on international tourism in their local economies as a result of COVID-19.

The Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan also advances a nationwide re-set in the tourism sector. Initiatives focus on ensuring tourism will be more sustainable and resilient in the future.

Work is underway to implement the Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan. Further information on each of the components is set out below, and will be updated as delivery decisions are finalised.

The $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan includes:

If you have any questions about the Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan, please contact: [email protected] .

© Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

https://www.mbie.govt.nz/immigration-and-tourism/tourism/tourism-recovery/tourism-communities-support-recovery-and-re-set-plan/ Please note: This content will change over time and can go out of date.

Break the Ice Media

Adapt experiences

Right now is a great time to get innovative and prepare by building your community and establishing brand trust within the digital world – Jennifer Barbee, Destination Innovate

Within this pandemic, Barbee notes, we are living in an entirely new digital civilization. The standard digital marketing that we are used to – focusing on a heavy sales message, pushing for overnights and conversions – cannot be the norm. Instead, this time should be about discovery, mentally planning for future trips and learning about new destinations, attractions and resorts. She encourages destinations to think now about experiences that they can offer online (like virtual museum tours or video content) and also about new in-person experiences that they can develop for the future. Online, tourism marketers need to focus their efforts on building a community, engaging with their potential customers and establishing a more personal connection with their target audience. She also suggests the use of Facebook groups as a great way to encourage consumers to authentically engage with your travel brand.

Start a tourism recovery plan

At no time has the economic value of travel and tourism been so clearly seen in local communities – Andria Godfrey, ADARA

The folks at ADARA have been measuring travel sentiment and impact since the COVID-19 pandemic first began in China. They even have a resource center on their website that is updated daily with new travel data. Godfrey notes that these data points lead us to believe that local and regional travel – drive market travel – will be more important than ever as we come out of the pandemic, and that now is the time to prepare. She advises destinations to begin creating a recovery plan and outline steps for a swift rebound, keeping an eye on inflection points to get ahead of the curve as travelers eventually pivot back to hotel overnights and air travel.

Destinations should also consider

  • What new drive markets can make the most impact in the short-term
  • Looking at seasonality changes as school dates shift and families plan for missed travel over spring break
  • Preparing for action in what will quickly become a cluttered marketplace

She advises including stakeholders and partners in a recovery plan and setting measurable goals together, as destinations communicate the value of the DMO as part of community economic recovery efforts .

Hone group travel strategies

The group tour market can take between one and three years to generate consistent business. Now is the time to make a plan. – Sally Berry, Bristol Creek Tourism Consulting

Breaking into the travel trade and group tour market is all about playing a long game, so Berry notes that now is a great time for destinations to create a plan for success and educate themselves about becoming group tour ready. Start by developing a strategy for entering this space that includes:

  • A presence at trade shows
  • Dedicated outreach to operators and sales calls
  • Development of a standard operating procedure (SOP) for staff that will untimely interact with group tours
  • A method for tracking group tour specific visitors.

Destinations new to the group market can use this time to educate themselves on popular travel trade lingo , explore tools that are commonly used in the group space (like WeChat) and pick up tips on attracting and booking group tours. This is also a great time to create (or update) tour-specific materials like a profile sheet or brochure, a landing page on the destination’s website and integrate group readiness into an online social media presence.

Engage consumers

If every destination goes to market with “something for everyone” then nothing you have ends up mattering. The narrower your focus, the broader your appeal. – Josiah Brown, The New York Sherpa

After talking to more than 10,000 consumers each year, Brown has reshaped his travel views into a true consumer-first perspective. Often, destinations fall into the trap of marketing in the way they are funded, the way memberships or stakeholders are structured, or by the geography of their region or state. But for consumers, their attention is on location (distance + proximity to major attractions) and the destination’s alignment with personal interests like hiking or craft beverage. Brown encourages destinations to take this time to consider their unique positioning and “be famous for something.” Put a stake in the ground and talk about it on their website and Instagram through direct recommendations and attention-grabbing images. He advises marketers to steer clear of posting “well designed ads” and instead look at the best ways to engage with consumers. As consumers begin to look at planning future trips, they are less likely to put their time or money at risk when traveling, instead considering locations that are famous for something they truly care about.

Prepare health & safety messages and plans

Messaging will need to change in the tourism industry – at least in the short-term – to communicate safety, intimacy and storytelling. – Erik Wolf, World Food Travel

Post-pandemic, Wolf predicts a sudden demand for travel as pent-up consumers begin to re-emerge from their homes. But in order to capture interest immediately, destinations will need to change up their messaging and start planning for a more cautious type of traveler. There will be more need to communicate health and safety measures, in particular to ensure visitors feel safe at various attractions, restaurants, tours or even getting back on an airplane for the first time. Smaller group activities are also more likely to occur, so destinations should consider limiting measures – taking large group experiences down to four or six people instead of the regular 12 or 15. Wolf also encourages marketers to consider and communicate the “why” of a visit or tour, stating “people will be desperate to experience other people again.” He instead encourages destinations to make a real move towards storytelling – giving the stories and faces behind the scenes – instead of just the features of the tour itself.

Tell your story

People don’t buy your product. They buy your story. Invest time and energy into thinking about what that story is. – Glenn Clark, Crafting a Brand

Echoing the sentiments of a few other sessions, Clark dives into branding and storytelling and talks about how important it is now for destinations and attractions to sell their unique story to customers, not just the product they offer. Now is the time for marketers to take a step back and think about the true attractors that drive visitors to select their destination, stay at an accommodation, or dine at a restaurant. He advises tourism professionals to think beyond the sales angle and dive into the who and how – how did your business get started, what makes it different, who are the faces behind the counter, has someone famous visited or stayed there? Without a story, your destination is just another on the list, another bottle of wine, another bed to sleep in.

Keep learning

The April Destination on the Left Virtual Summit came during a time of great change for our nation and our world. But the lessons learned are important keys to helping marketers navigate that change and come out of this pandemic with a strategy, a plan to move forward and the tools to make an impact and stand out in the crowd.

All of our Virtual Summit presentations are available for free until April 30, 2020. Register to view them all at: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcast/summit/ .

Break the Ice Media is also offering a new online course called “ Strategic Marketing Planning for Post-Pandemic Recovery .” We’ll take you through the specific steps we use at BTI to create strategic marketing plans for our clients, built out as a 7-week course complete with resources and homework assignments meant to guide you through our process. Sign up today to continue learning and add new skills to your marketing toolkit for tourism recovery!

Related posts:

Can Curated Experiences Help Your Tourism Marketing?

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tourism industry recovery plan

  • Society and culture

New plan to drive rapid recovery of tourism sector

A new rail pass and vouchers for popular tourist attractions are at the heart of a plan to return domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023.

Rediscover Tourism on a background gallery of tourism images

  • Tourism Recovery Plan to help sector build back better from the pandemic
  • Plan aims to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023 - both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict
  • New initiatives to boost tourism include £10 million National Lottery Days Out scheme to support attractions and a new rail pass to encourage domestic breaks

#RediscoverTourism: Nigel Huddleston on the Tourism Recovery Plan

A £10 million voucher scheme will be launched by The National Lottery this autumn to encourage trips beyond the peak summer season, with players having the chance to claim vouchers to redeem at tourist attractions across the UK between September 2021 and March 2022.

A rail pass for “staycationers” will be launched later this year, helping to make it easier and more sustainable for domestic tourists to get around the country. The new pass will build on the success of the BritRail pass, which is sold through VisitBritain and currently gives international visitors flexible travel across the country, as well as providing discounted entry to tourism attractions.

There will be a new focus on technology and data. The government will explore how tourism data collected at the border can support the sector and we will look to create a tourism data hub to give the sector access to robust, accessible and timely data. The hub could track consumer trends in travel, such as the growth in “active tourism” such as watersports and hiking, and booking of sustainable tourism experiences. The data gathered will help inform policy and marketing whilst working to improve visitor experience.

The government will develop a Sustainable Tourism Plan later this year to put the UK at the forefront of the global discussion on sustainable travel. This will look at further measures to reduce the impact of tourism on our environment whilst balancing the needs of local communities with the economic benefits generated by tourism. The Plan will build on the significant investments in sustainable tourism already underway, such as the completion of the England Coast Path - the longest of its type in the world - and the almost £1 billion investment in electric vehicle charging hubs at service stations.

Pre-pandemic, England looked set to hit 100 million domestic overnight trips in 2020. In 2019, 41 million international visitors came to the UK for business or leisure, spending over £28 billion whilst here and putting the UK in the top 5 countries globally for inbound visitor spending.

However the sector has been hugely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with cities amongst the most impacted areas. £19 million has also been earmarked for marketing campaigns to promote cities and towns across the country, with a £5.5 million domestic campaign already underway.

The Government has acted to protect jobs and businesses in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors, which have received over £25 billion in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks, including £5 billion in VAT cuts.

The government will also launch a consultation on the introduction of a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. This will consider the benefits of the rise of short term holiday rentals in attracting tourists to destinations across the country and contributing to the English tourism economy, as well as its impact on local economies and communities. The consultation will help us target further government interventions in the future and create an improved national picture of the precise shape of the accommodation landscape which could feed into a wider Data Hub.

The plan also looks ahead to 2022: a massive year for the UK showcasing the nation on the world stage with a triumvirate of major events. Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Festival UK 2022 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will promote the very best of Britain at home and abroad. An additional bank holiday for the Queen’s Jubilee will provide a further boost for tourism and hospitality while a £24 million Business and Tourism Programme will run alongside the Commonwealth Games to promote Birmingham, the West Midlands and the UK.

The government is determined to level-up the country and to ensure that every region is reaching its full potential. A root and branch review of how tourism at a regional and local level is funded and supported is already underway, focusing on the important role played by Destination Management Organisations, and will report in the summer.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP said:

Our brilliant tourism sector is one of our country’s greatest assets, making a huge contribution to our economy and delivering jobs across all communities. This is why we’ve provided it with £25 billion in support so far during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tourism Recovery Plan is our blueprint for how the sector can build back better from the pandemic, even faster than forecasts predict. It’s been a challenging year for the tourism sector, especially for our cities, but I know they stand ready to welcome visitors back and I encourage everyone to rediscover the UK’s fantastic tourism offer.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart MP said:

Wales has so much to offer visitors, and tourism is key to our economy. Throughout the past year the UK Government has provided this vital sector with necessary support to ensure it builds back even stronger than before the pandemic. Measures announced today that apply in Wales show the UK Government is delivering for one of the sectors that has been hardest hit.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis MP said:

Whether you are visiting the stunning Mourne mountains, the dark hedges, touring filming locations of the Game of Thrones or enjoying the award-winning food and drink, Northern Ireland’s culture is rich, with local towns and cities filled with history, literature and digital innovation. Today’s announcement of the Tourism Recovery Plan is fantastic news, by working with and supporting local businesses, we can showcase the best of Northern Ireland on a global scale. Ensuring we build back better across the country, creating jobs, supporting creativity and economic growth following the pandemic.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart MP said:

“Tourism is a cornerstone of Scotland’s economy, so it’s fantastic that this ambitious UK Government plan is helping the sector recover.

“Scotland has a huge amount to offer tourists, from our vibrant cities to our spectacular scenery. The launch of a new rail pass will encourage people from across the UK to come and explore our beautiful country while giving the tourism and hospitality sectors a much-needed boost.”

Additional quotes

VisitBritain/VisitEngland chairman Lord Patrick McLoughlin said:

The UK Government’s Tourism Recovery Plan is a welcome and important step on the industry’s road to recovery, recognising the economic potential of the sector, setting out a clear policy direction for the future and outlining the ambitions for domestic and international tourism. Tourism is a critical industry, a powerhouse of innovation, creativity and employment, injecting cash into the economy with a track record for growth and levelling-up, supporting local economies in every part of the UK and strengthening our place on the world stage. By working together to drive demand and build back visitor spend as quickly as possible we can emerge from the pandemic and also look towards a brighter future building an industry that is more resilient, sustainable, inclusive and innovative. Our spending review bid this year will seek to support the plan’s ambitions and to build on the successful projects we have been running, working with the UK Government and across the industry to cement the recovery and the future of one of this country’s greatest industries.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer, UK Hospitality, said:

The Tourism Recovery Plan is a hugely positive and welcome recognition of the social, economic and cultural importance of the hospitality and tourism sector. It is not only our third largest export earner but also domestically it delivers jobs, growth and investment at pace and scale in communities across the UK. This strategic plan will not only expedite hospitality’s recovery but also the national recovery post COVID. We look forward to working collaboratively across Government departments, to help build resilience and international competitiveness and catalyse cultural and economic renaissance.

Michael Hirst OBE, Chairman, Events Industry Board, said:

Meetings and conferences, exhibitions and trade shows are crucial to the UK’s recovery in showcasing innovation, growing international visitors, attracting inward investment and creating jobs. We are delighted to see this recognised within the Recovery Plan which includes expansion of VisitBritain’s support programmes to include a UK-wide domestic fund, greater cross Whitehall working and enhanced Ministerial advocacy support plus elements related to sustainability, skills and accessibility. We are committed to working with government to ensure the UK retains and enhances its position as a leading European nation for hosting business events.

Amanda Cupples, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said:

Airbnb is preparing for what we believe will be the travel rebound of the century and we want to work with the Government to help everyone benefit. Clear rules to back Britain’s hospitality entrepreneurs will accelerate the recovery of tourism and support local families and communities. We have worked with communities across the UK on proposals for a tourism accommodation register and we are delighted to see the Government take this work forward. We will continue to work with everyone to support the recovery of tourism and help the UK to build back better.

Simon Vincent, Hilton President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said:

The hospitality and tourism sector has faced unique challenges during the pandemic so we welcome this plan which provides much needed focus and support to aid the recovery. Crucially it recognises the critical role our sector will play in creating jobs and helping communities across the UK build back faster and better. As an industry we look forward to working alongside Government Departments to deliver the Tourism Recovery Plan, creating thousands of jobs, investing in communities, and showcasing the world beating attractions the UK has to offer – while shaping the new era of sustainable travel together.

Notes to editors:

  • Read the Tourism Recovery Plan

For more information on where to visit this summer see:

See ‘What’s on in 2021’ in Britain

See cultural exhibitions specifically in Britain

See more information on what’s new in England cities this summer

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UN Tourism | Bringing the world closer

Tourism’s Recovery Strategies Highlighted at WTO ‘Aid for Trade’ Event

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Tourism’s Recovery Strategies Highlighted at WTO ‘Aid for Trade’ Event

  • Asia and the Pacific
  • 26 Mar 2021

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnered with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to lead a conversation on what the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on global tourism means for development across the Asia-Pacific region. Held as part of the World Trade Organization’s Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking Event, the special session brought key sector representatives together to assess how the sector can be transformed to drive recovery and build sustainability.

According to the latest data from UNWTO, the pandemic led to a 73% fall globally in international tourist arrivals in 2020. The drop has been even steeper in Asia-Pacific where ADB estimates a decline of over 80% for 2020, as many Asian countries continued to impose strict travel restrictions. This sudden fall has placed the sector’s ability to drive sustainable development forward on hold.

Building Sustainability and Resilience

The special event at WTO, moderated by Anna Fink, Economist at ADB, explored how ‘aid-for-trade’ can be used to build greater sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector. Joining Matthias Helble Senior Economist at the Asian Development Bank and Zoritsa Urosevic Director of Institutional Relations and Partnerships at UNWTO were representatives from the governments of Azerbaijan and New Zealand, and Suzanne Becken, a tourism expert from Griffith University.

ADB’s Matthias Helble shared that, according to latest ADB estimates, a full recovery for the sector is only expected by 2023 at the earliest. Promotion of domestic tourism, as well as the creation of ‘travel bubbles’ that would allow travel to resume between certain destinations , were highlighted as potential strategies for driving recovery in the short-term. The introduction of vaccine passes could further accelerate recovery. However, these measures should only be temporary, and countries ultimately need to prepare for a full opening.

Short and Long-Term Support for Tourism

ADB’s Matthias Helble stressed that a prolonged pandemic puts the survival of large parts of the tourism sector at risk. To help governments finance policy measures that facilitate targeted aid to households and firms most severely affected by the pandemic, ADB launched a $20 billion support package in April 2020. By the end of 2020, ADB had committed $16.3 billion of this package in the form of grants, technical assistance, and loans to developing member governments and the private sector. At the same time, UNWTO has expanded on its support to Member States across the region, including through the launch of the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package, delivering expert support to destinations across the historic Silk Road.

For longer-term recovery, UNWTO’s Zoritsa Urosevic stressed the importance of developing a new finance architecture to to adopt and build innovative, low carbon, circular, safe, and inclusive business policies, and instruments for recovery. At the same time, both ADB and UNWTO reiterated the importance of international cooperation and the harmonization of policies , both to restart international tourism and then to monitor and guide future growth to ensure the sector delivers on its potential to drive sustainable development. 

Related links

  • Download the news release in PDF
  • UNWTO: COVID-19 Response
  • 2020: Worst Year in Tourism History with 1 Billion Fewer International Arrivals

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Tourism recovery plan, the uk’s tourism industry during covid-19 pandemic.

The UK’s tourism industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, inbound flight arrivals to the UK dropped by 90% year-on-year, hotel occupancy fell significantly, and the sector was closed completely for at least six months of the year.

In a bid to help the industry recover post-pandemic, the UK Government set out the Tourism Recovery Plan in 2021, announced by then Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston MP. It acknowledged the economic potential of the sector, set out a clear policy direction for the future, and detailed ambitions for domestic and international tourism recovery.

Why the Tourism Action Plan?

The Tourism Recovery Plan replaced the Tourism Sector Deal and the International Business Events Action Plan, both published in 2019, and was based on their foundations.

In the short term, the focus of the framework was to drive immediate tourism recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by swiftly increasing trip volume and visitor spend. Looking long term, it focused on supporting the industry to be more ‘resilient, sustainable, inclusive and innovative’ than ever.

Tourism Recovery Plan: key goals and commitments

Boost trip volume.

Recover domestic overnight trip volume and spend to 2019 levels by the end of 2022, and inbound visitor numbers and spend by the end of 2023 – both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.

Across all regions

Ensure that the sector’s recovery benefits every nation and region, with visitors staying longer, growing accommodation occupancy rates in the off-season, and high levels of investment in tourism products and transport infrastructure.

Build back better

Support the development of a more innovative and resilient tourism industry, maximising the potential for technology and data to enhance the visitor experience and employing more UK nationals in year-round quality jobs.

Conserve and protect

Ensure the tourism sector contributes to the enhancement and conservation of the UK’s cultural, natural and historic heritage, and minimises environmental damage.

Greater accessibility

Support inclusivity and accessibility across the UK’s tourism offering, creating a visitor experience that is considered the most accessible of any in the world.

Best for business

Return the UK swiftly to its pre-pandemic position as a leading destination for business events, attracting more to our shores and growing international audiences.

Read the full Tourism Recovery Plan

For a comprehensive overview of its pledges and commitments, read the original 62-page Tourism Recovery Plan on Gov.uk .

“The government is committed to supporting the [tourism] sector to emerge from the pandemic more resilient, more sustainable, more inclusive and more innovative. We want the recovery to be swift in every nation and region, and in both urban and rural areas.”

Why is the Tourism Recovery Plan important?

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, the UK’s largest economic contractions in the services sector in 2020 were all part of the tourism industry: air, maritime, travel agents, accommodation, rail and entertainment. Tourism was also the sector most reliant on the government’s financial support measures such as the furlough scheme. Through the scheme, more than £25 billion was provided to the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector over the course of the pandemic.

Devolved nations

The British Tourist Authority is the national tourist agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. In the UK, tourism is devolved with England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland each having their own national tourist boards.

Each of the devolved administrations had their own post-pandemic recovery strategy, but the Tourism Recovery Plan set out the UK Government’s intentions to support their efforts, and to collaborate on shared initiatives.

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Tourism sector deal.

Announced in 2019, the industry and government’s flagship commitment to tourism included 10,000 more apprenticeships and 130,000 extra hotel rooms.

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Introduction to tourism in Britain

Explore how Britain’s tourism industry is organised both nationally and locally.

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Tourism Action Plan

The government’s Tourism Action Plan (TAP) outlined its UK-wide support for the industry – including the Discover England Fund

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Turning tourism into development: Mitigating risks and leveraging heritage assets

If done right, tourism can actually bolster and preserve cultural heritage, while also helping to develop economies.

If done right, tourism can actually bolster and preserve cultural heritage, while also helping to develop economies. Image:  REUTERS/David Loh

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Maimunah mohd sharif.

tourism industry recovery plan

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Stay up to date:, travel and tourism.

  • Cultural and historical travel accounts for 40% of all tourism globally.
  • 73% of millennials report being interested in cultural and historic places.
  • Protecting local culture and heritage requires a robust plan to mitigate negative impacts and policies to ensure prosperity is shared.

Culture and heritage tourism has the potential to create significant employment opportunities and stimulate economic transformation.

However, communities worldwide often grapple with the challenges posed by the magnetic appeal of heritage sites and the promise of economic prosperity. Property values can increase, displacing local residents and permanently altering the character of their neighbourhoods.

But capitalizing on tourism's potential while preserving and enhancing history and culture is possible — and it is already being done in sites around the world. From Malaysia to Saudi Arabia, many are already demonstrating the ability to balance economic development with socially and environmentally sustainable transformations.

Below are five common features that those sustainable approaches embrace.

Have you read?

This is how to leverage community-led sustainable tourism for people and biodiversity, are we finally turning the tide towards sustainable tourism, how the middle east is striving to lead the way in sustainable tourism, translating a vision into an area-based plan.

Urban planning and regeneration require a holistic approach, coordinating interventions across various sectors and providing guidance for investments. A holistic plan would include spatial and policy measures that are supported by regulatory measures, particularly those focusing on affordability and social cohesion. UN-Habitat prioritizes measures which promote mixed-use and social-economically diverse development to mitigate gentrification.

In George Town, Malaysia, the Special Area Plan and its Comprehensive Management Plan function as the key reference for inclusive strategic policies, regulations and guidelines for conservation, economic activities and intangible heritage. The plan, which balances economic development and conservation, included affordability measures such as supporting local owners restoring their houses, enabling adaptive reuse for small businesses, and supporting renters, thus protecting a share of historic buildings from tourism-induced redevelopment.

In Saudi Arabia’s AlUla, home to 40,000 residents and leading cultural assets including Hegra and Jabal Ikma — which was recently added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World International Register — a similar vision is unfolding. The Path to Prosperity masterplan makes provisions for new housing, creates new economic opportunities and establishes new schools, mosques and healthcare facilities for the community with affordability as the guiding principle. An expanded public realm will create district and neighbourhood parks with green spaces, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and bicycle trails. A network of scenic routes, low-impact public transportation and non-vehicular options will facilitate mobility.

A diversified economic base

To avoid over-reliance on a single economic driver, planners must make space for a range of alternative livelihoods. In AlUla, The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), which is responsible for the city’s development into a tourism hub, is drawing on its rich local heritage to create a global destination while diversifying the local economy. Investment in native industries such as agriculture has resulted in a revived high-yielding and higher-value farming sector, while new sectors such as the creation of film and logistics industries are creating new jobs and providing increased revenue for residents.

Saudi Arabia's AlUla offers clues as to how to balance economic development with the preservation of cultural heritage.

The UN-Habitat Parya Sampada project in the Kathmandu Valley undertook earthquake reconstruction of the heritage settlements in urban areas using a holistic approach of physical reconstruction and economic recovery. It focused on the reconstruction of public heritage infrastructure supported by tourism enterprises run by women and youth.

Nurturing living heritage and local knowledge

Maintaining the character of a place is critical to its future and creates valuable economic assets. Maintenance and preservation animate the built environment, while the recovery of building techniques and crafts of traditional cultural activities creates jobs and maintains skills.

UN-Habitat’s work in Beirut demonstrates this approach, supporting several hundred jobs. Through the Beirut Housing Rehabilitation and Cultural and Creative Industries project, led by UN-Habitat, UNESCO supervises the allocation of small grants to local artisans. The regeneration of the historical train station in Mar Mikhael and adjacent areas will focus on traditional building techniques to reactivate cultural markets and businesses.

In AlUla, the Hammayah training programme is empowering thousands to work as guardians of natural heritage and culture. In Myanmar the nationwide Community-Based Tourism initiative is operated and managed by local vulnerable communities to provide genuine experiences to world travelers.

Share the value created by tourism

Addressing the negative externalities of tourism requires the assessment and compensation of its real impacts, which can be done through sustainable tourism planning and community participation. The pressure on services, increased congestion and the cost of living need to be addressed through specific investments, funded through the taxation of tourism-related revenues redirected towards the local community, especially for the most vulnerable groups.

Examples include the Balearic Island of Mallorca, which has introduced a sustainable tourism tax to support conservation of the island. Meanwhile Kyoto, Japan has implemented several measures to control the number of tourists at popular sites and establish visitor codes of conduct.

Human-centered local development

Empowering the local community to actively engage with its rich culture while minimizing conflict with the natural environment can increase the resilience of residents and reduce the pressures of gentrification. Participation in decision-making is critical to shape visions and plans that achieve these goals.

The UN-Habitat Participatory Strategy in Mexico’s San Nicolas de los Garza showcases how collaboration with the local community throughout the design and implementation process can ensure solutions capture the culture, skills and needs of the neighborhoods. The 2030 City Vision provides a participatory action plan for the integration of culture, heritage and tourism within the currently prevalent urban economic sectors.

In Saudi Arabia such approaches are embedded in Vision 2030, a blueprint for economic diversification. RCU deploys short- and long-term support to the community through scholarship, upskilling and support for SMEs to enhance access to jobs and entrepreneurship in hospitality and tourism.

While development always introduces complex dynamics and transformations, mitigating gentrification in tourist areas is crucial to achieving sustainable local development for the benefit of all and preserving the unique character of these places.

These measures advocate a proactive approach to ensure that economic growth remains inclusive for the entire community, and that tourism is promoted for the benefit of local residents as well as visitors.

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City of durban unveils post covid-19 tourism industry recovery plan

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  • May 12, 2020
  • Press release

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THE City of Durban has unveiled a raft of measures to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism and to chart a course for the industry’s recovery.

Addressing the media on Friday, 24 April 2020, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, the Mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, announced a basket of broad interventions that the city will be implementing to shore up the economy.

The measures are aimed at fashioning a new economic architecture for the City post COVID-19. 

eThekwini’s interventions follow successive announcements by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and ministers outlining programmes, including a R500 billion relief package to assist vulnerable citizens, and industry sectors during the national state of disaster and lockdown period.

Announcing the City’s recovery plan, Kaunda said eThekwini had been one of the country’s leading tourist destinations, attracting over 3.8 million overnight visitors (domestic and international) and approximately 1.3 million-day visitors in 2019.  

In 2020 the numbers were expected to increase by approximately 4% domestic and 2% internationally. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, severely altering the economic growth projection and negatively impacting the tourism industry. 

He noted that following the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, before the country’s declaration of the State of National Disaster, a decline totalling 165 000 in visitor numbers for the Easter Season (March to May), compared to 2019, was projected. 

Furthermore, a decline of R300 million in direct spend; R600 million in contribution to the GDP; and 1 400 in employment contribution as well R39 million in government taxes were expected.  

Kaunda confirmed that COVID-19 and the lockdown have had a catastrophic effect on the economy of the country and the world and the City.

“We are anticipating that approximately 320 000 jobs will be at risk as the lockdown continues.  Our research also indicates that by the end of the lockdown, our economy will have declined by 4 to 6 percent. It is important to indicate that the economy of our city constitutes about 10% of the country’s GDP,” he said.

Kaunda said the suspension of the hosting of major events had adversely affected the City’s signature events such as the Vodacom Durban July, Africa’s Travel Indaba, Rugby and Football events as well as the Comrades Marathon.

“The postponement of these events will result in visitor losses of around 280 000 people, thus decreasing the spend by visitors in the City of around R 725 million. The Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre has also had to postpone over 85 events from March till June 2020, losing R64 million of revenue. Ushaka Marine has also lost R50 million of revenue from March to 30 June. Our Hotels and restaurants are at a risk of losing R4 billion in revenue”.

He said it was against this backdrop that the city had put together a relief and recovery plan.

“To respond to this challenge, eThekwini Municipality will be driving a coordinated plan to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 on the local tourism and industrial economy,” he said.

“Our plan entails, amongst other things, linking affected industry players with the various funds announced by the national government, including the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund and the Solidarity Fund,” he added.

Kaunda also announced the following measures to crank up the tourism sector:

  • Bed and Breakfast outfits can apply to the Municipality to pay residential rates for a limited period.
  • Re-introducing the campaign of marketing Durban to visitors as a new, fresher and clean Durban that is cautious about health and safety of visitors, once the economy has re-opened.
  • Aggressively focusing on getting more beaches to be awarded the Blue Flag Status.
  • Increase funding provided to Community Tourism Organisations from R250 000 to R500 000 to market their areas and create new tourism packages.
  • Creating new tourism packages relevant to a post-COVID19 world.
  • Working with the national and local tourism business bodies, plus supporters such as the banks, on investment retention and where possible in time, an investment expansion programme.

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