Within weeks of its emergence in the Chinese city of Wuhan (Hubei province) in late December 2019, the novel Coronavirus has engulfed 213 countries and territories worldwide. Now infamous as Covid-19 Pandemic, the contagion has already killed over 850000 people (as of August 28, 2020). It not only poses significant risks to our physical and fiscal security (economy and public health) but presents a substantial threat to our national security. It is imperative and urgent for Nation-states to manage this health risk effectively.
The tourism industry, which depends heavily on a hedonic and sensorial experience, is facing the severest stress ever amid the ongoing pandemic. The interlinked socio-cultural, economic, psychological and political impacts of this magnitude can alter the predictive power of previously studied explanatory models in the tourism recovery process. This article attempts to explain the transformational effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry.
Impact of COVID-19 on tourism
Just within a few weeks since the Covid-19 virus started spreading from Wuhan, China, in December 2019, it was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), consequently affecting lives in 204 countries in varying degrees – some low, others moderate while about a dozen countries seriously affected. Within a span of two weeks, the total positive cases globally have seen 350 per cent increase to touch 2.3 million with death counts crossing 1,50,000 as of April 15, 2020.
A few days back in a startling incident, some unknown persons placed an advertisement on a global online marketplace for the sale of the Statue of Unity located at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat. He/she quoted the price of the ‘monument’ at Rs 30,000 crore and claimed that the money would be used to meet the requirement of hospitals and buy healthcare equipment to handle the Covid-19 crisis. Obviously, this is an act of stupidity and needs to be condemned. An FIR has already been lodged for cheating and forgery case; it is illegal to put on sale a public property.
The Cruise Ship Industry around the world has been significantly affected by the spread of Coronavirus or infamous now as Covid – 19. Luxury cruise ships are more vulnerable to infectious diseases, as it brings diverse populations into close proximity, for an extended period of the sea voyage. There is a risk of spreading the disease beyond voyages also, for which aggressive efforts and safety measures are required to be implemented to contain the spread.
In the midst of a national lockdown and steady rise in a number of cases diagnosed with Coronavirus infection, Central and State governments have issued a number of guidelines and advisories to better manage the ongoing COVID-19 induced disaster. A key challenge confronting society is how to deal with the increasing social stigma being attached to the disease. A number of cases are emerging from across the country, reporting social ostracization. Such instances are expected to rise further as the infection spreads from various cities to the rural country-side.
The world is at present witnessing one of the most difficult periods in its modern history. It is facing COVID-19 pandemic that has no medical solution in sight yet. Thousands of people are dying and many more are expected to succumb to the coronavirus in days and months to come. Obviously, all efforts are ongoing to save the world from any eventual catastrophe. Apart from undertaking passive measures like social distancing, which helps to break the chain of human transmission of the virus, scientists are trying their best to find an appropriate medicine/vaccine to fight COVID-19.
As long as a human community, as a whole, does not get out of the ‘syndrome’ of reacting and preparing for yesterday’s threats, the world would never remain prepared to address the threats like the pandemics. The field of warfare tells us that humans draw lessons from past wars in order to prepare for future wars without realizing that the face of future wars may not be the same that they have experienced in the past. In very broad terms, there are two main categories of threats, called natural and human-induced.