Impact of COVID-19 andemic on International Tourism

The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on International Tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted all our lives, as well as myriads of business sectors, directly or indirectly.

International tourism faced one of the darkest periods of the financial downturn. Sectors related to tourism saw massive losses in profit as travel restrictions came into place.

National and International Airlines were locked up in their basis eating dust. Casinos, cruises, and relevant luxury industries saw a dire lack of old money or newly rich customers, willing to spend their money around.

The rental car industry became a temporary junkyard. Cooks and owners of restaurant industries had to go hungry themselves. Hotel industries saw no visitors at all, Pandemic Happened, and tourism died a little.

According to an estimate by The United Nations world tourism organization, tourism went down by about 78% in 2020. This caused a potential loss of around 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in the international tourism industry alone.

International Travel Restraints

COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions

To try and Ward off the rapidly increasing wave of COVID-19 countries and regions declared quarantine. It started from just one city in China, which seemed laughably far away to affect us back then. We were all just ignorant spectators back then, citizens and governments alike. It will turn out to be the downfall of the mighty nations, as the rest of the world was similarly infected soon enough.

International flights carried the COVID-19 hosts to different countries. Ignorance of the proper safety measures eventually leads it to become the pandemic it turns out to be. A little too late, the safety measures were declared by governments. Travel restrictions were put in place. Quarantine was declared mandatory by most nations, some soon, some late.

International travel was banned by many countries. The airline industry became one of the most drastically affected tourism-related industries. It was not just the restrictions, the rapidly rising COVID-19 related death tally diminished the enthusiasm of people for travel.

Online conferencing took the place of international business travels. While international tourism sectors were on a freefall to financial instability, video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, saw a steep incline in their finances.


by east Asia forum

As the pandemic originated in Asia, travelers around the globe started avoiding major travel destinations on the Asian continent. Tourism in China dried up As it was the point of origin of the contagion. international and national travel both were restricted harshly in the nation.

Considering the euro nearest mates Hong Kong lost about 99% of its foreign visitors in March 2020 and Cyprus about 67% in the same month. While Japan’s global tourist year-on-year rate decreased by 95% in March 2020 fast-forwarding to April, it depleted to 100%. In 2019 around 3.295 million foreign visitors came to Israel. While during the same time in October 2020, only around 738,000 in total visited the nation.

One of the biggest international travel agencies of South Korea Mode Tour and Hanna Tour reported around 10 billion won damages from tourism restrictions which led to travel plans cancellations. Tourist spending in Thailand decreased to an all-time low of 78% year on year in March 2020. Thai borders were closed strictly to all international flights.

COVID-19 pandemic: international travel stats
Source: forward keys traveler statistics

This eventually concluded in April 2020 with zero foreign tourism spending in Thailand. Passenger traffic in the United Arab Emirates decreased by 70% and India faced year on year 67% decrease in March

Angkor Wat one of the highest visited travel destinations in Cambodia saw almost no visitors at all. Usually, at least thousands of visitors from around the globe were seen visiting the highly sought-after travel destination,  previously to the pandemic. The tourism industry in Cambodia used to amount to around 4.92 billion U.S. dollars before the pandemic. And then there was a travel ban by the nation as well as travel restrictions were put in place around the globe.

You can imagine, how a decline of 65% foreign visitors could have caused a major economic downturn in tourism-related industries in Cambodia. Angkor wat,  one of the favorite travel destinations of tourists, used to see daily visitors in thousands. However, during the pandemic times in April 2020, Angkor National Park saw barely 22 tickets being sold on a daily basis.

The next step of rapid economic losses is usually followed by a tidal wave of unemployment. As about 600 hotels had to shut down throughout Cambodia, no less than 10,000 staff members connected to the tourism industry lost their livelihood.


COVID-19 pandemic:: Europe travel restrictions
By forbes

In Croatia year on year, foreign visitors decreased by about 75% in Greece by about 47% . While Hungary suffered worse off, as foreign arrivals plummeted by 99%.  Domestic tourism in Hungary also took a drastic downturn as it decreased by 95% in April 2020.

Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain saw a year-on-year decrease of foreign arrivals by 66%, 78%, and 64% respectively around March 2020. Bulgaria announced a ban on foreign travel and blocked the entry of foreign travelers in March 2020. This caused a decrease of 44% in foreign arrivals.

However, visitors from nearby Serbian and Greece provinces were allowed entry.

Terms and conditions were applied, of course, they had to have family ties in Bulgaria or be humanitarian, transport workers, or diplomats after June 1. These exceptional cases didn’t have to go through the 14-day quarantine procedure. Bosnia’s Federation announced similar lockdown measures. As you might guess foreign visitors decreased by about 79% according to the statistical office of the government.


COVID-19 pandemic: Travel Australia
by USA Today Travel

According to the data from the Australian tourism boards, 4.5 billion Australian dollars is the amount of economic laws that Australia most projected to suffer.

As the tourism industries started faltering under the threat of a pandemic, airlines were closed, hotels and casinos were shut down as well.

Gold coast and Cairns claimed a loss of around $600 million in total. This leads to the Australian tourism industry council asking the Australian government for financial support.

The matters developed as far as Australian national travel agency having to close their 100 of their stores that were scattered around the nation.

It is estimated that its share prices dropped by around 75%. 6000 of its staff were also reduced/sent on unpaid leave to save on the budget.

North America

by safe travel barometer

Costa Rica, one of the popular global travel destinations in the world suffered foreign visitors’ arrival loss as well. Around March 2020, year on year foreign travelers rate dropped by 51%.

Tourism in Mexico faced similar challenges to other nations. Around 4000 hotels and 2000 restaurants had to be closed down. The airline industry supposedly lost US $1.3 billion, estimated till March 2020, as well.

United States

Hawaii is known for being a popular travel hub worldwide. However, even the charm of Hawaii could not survive the pandemic tidal wave.

Tourism went on hibernation in Hawaii. Any foreign travelers arriving in the country had to go through a 14-day quarantine. This led to almost a complete blockage in visitor influx.

Rather than traveling to other nations or cross country, people started staying at home. Lockdown measures were put in place. The tourism industry, for the first time in a long while, dried up wholly.

South America


Tourism is a major mode of financial input in the nation’s GDP. As various tourism industries kept declining there was a 53% decrease in Brazilian nominal GDP in 2020.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Tourism Sectors

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aviation

COVID-19 pandemic: International aviation

Passenger numbers restriction, a slump in demand, international travel restrictions led to the eventual downfall of the international aviation industry.

A lot of national and international flights were canceled as passenger numbers were restricted. As the rising case of COVID-19 pandemic became known along with the public, so did the aviation industry started its free fall.

Plenty of times planes were canceled as well as airlines had to run empty between different airports.

Such dire lack there was of passengers that revenues kept declining for airlines. Quite a few of the airlines were always on the back verge of bankruptcy during these times. More than a few airlines refused to outright pay their customers the cancellation fees so that they could avoid bankruptcy.

Of course, cost-cutting also led to the laying off of employees. Thousands upon thousands of airline staff around the globe lost their jobs.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Casino Industry

COVID-19 pandemic: International casino tour
by business insider

Have you ever been to a casino? Or perhaps have you ever been tempted to visit a casino?

The allure of getting rich quickly is such an intoxicating charm that everyone gets tempted by it at least once. The casino industry used to be a booming one, with profits being counted in unimaginable won’t of money.

However, like all industries related to tourism. It includes the most important factor for it to keep profiting. Tourists.

Well, yeah, then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

The sudden announcement of nationwide closures around the globe put the casinos in an unexpected kind of jeopardy. One they weren’t ready for. Well, to tell you the truth, you can never be actually ready for a sudden pandemic. But we were all direly unprepared all the same.

Without a single customer, they had to spend months upon months, waiting for the pandemic to be over. Even after the lockdowns ended. Restrictions didn’t.

This means that while the average person can technically come inside a casino and play around. Without the restrictions lifting and people be allowed inside, it was almost impossible to gain proper profit for the casinos to be able to run fully functionally.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the cruise industry

Not only the airlines or the casino industry but the cruise industry was impacted by the declining tourism as well. Some of the cruises got negative publicity on international media due to rapid infection spread among their passengers. They had to be kept in quarantine on waters.

This procured much negative sentiment towards using cruises for travels and it ultimately led to dire circumstances for the cruise industry.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Hotel Industry

International travel hotel restrictions
by samachar central

The worldwide wave of increased Corona cases as well as a rapid rise in the tally of deaths related to Corona led to a steep decline in revenue of hotel industries. With the dire lack of consumers, hotels had to be shut down. Numerous hotel staff throughout the globe lost their jobs. As work from home doesn’t really work on an industry majorly dependent on face-to-face interactions.

For example, in Austin, Texas, only 3% of all hotels were occupied on April 11, 2020. Compared to the same date in 2019, around 10,777 rooms were occupied in the same region.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Restaurant Industry

International Travel Restaurants
by TRT world

Governments issued restrictions that mandated the closing down of bars, restaurants, and similar crowded places. Ask yourself this, do you remember the times before 2019, when you had no problem sitting amidst a large group, enjoying your time?

Seems weird doesn’t it?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, if anyone said to me that I’d be going to a bank, wearing a mask of all things and demanding money calmly, without getting shot?

I’d have questioned their sanity.

Oh, how times change.

Humans can be weirdly adaptable.

Getting back on the topic, yeah, the restaurant industry is one of those that suffered the most. As it among those that included large amount of staff in its proceedings.

Close down of restaurants meant, loss of jobs for all those restaurant workers.

Opportunistic tourism: To hell with corona?

Despite all the warnings, despite the rapidly rising death toll, despite the numerous COVID-19 cases, some people just don’t seem to care.

While I can get behind the idea of not being too terrified to go along with your life. A healthy amount of caution is definitely warranted.

Some people didn’t care about the COVID-19 and despite the warnings, suggestions and restrictions to stay at home. Went on journeys. This is the exact kind of irresponsible behavior that helped the disease to become a pandemic.

Even if you don’t get the Corona through your ignorance, what if someone else does through you??

People didn’t care. And now, here we are.

All of us, shackled voyagers, flightless birds, looking forlornly at the distant horizon, wondering when we can finally travel freely again.

Dear reader, in these incredibly unpredictable times. I hope you and your family stays safe.

May God bless us all

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