Purpose: The present chapter includes discussing the effects of COVID-19 in the tourism industry. Although much has been written on COVID-19 in these days, literature emphasizes on the economic devastating consequences of lockdown on tourism industry. The chapter goes in an opposite direction revealing the fears, expectance, and hopes of tourism staff in Argentina.
Design-Methodology: Because of the methodological impossibilities to conduct face-to-face interviews, we have employed digital platform to conduct 50 interviews in tourism professionals geographically located in different Argentinean cities as well as coming from different subsectors in the tourism industry. The used method was snowball which means that each interviewee recommended another one once the interview ends. The sample was drawn in 20 females and 30 males from 25 to 55 years old.
Findings: The findings suggest three important assumptions. Interviewees expressed some partisan or ideological hostilities against China and Eastern countries. The Chinese tourists were seen with some mistrust for interviewed people as well as the reaction of Chinese government to stop the pandemic. In other cases, old inter-class rivalries were found when interviewees blamed the stranded (rich) tourists as the main carriers of the virus in Argentina-wide. Hostilities and chauvinist expression against neighboring countries such Bolivia or Chile were overtly uttered. These narratives escalate when interviewees manifest their wages have been unilaterally slumped down. By the side, digital technologies offer as fertile ground to exploit new forms of tourism in the years to come.
Research Limitations: The obtained outcome should be validated in next approaches because the sample is not statistically representative of the universe. The restrictions imposed by the lockdown impeded further research today. In the same line, the sample was limited to tourism professionals, which suggests that policymakers should be included in the future research.
Practical Implications: Understanding the fears and hope of tourism staff is an alternative way to enact sustainable policies to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic in the tourism industry. While these policies construct a bridge between theory and management, no less true is that the future of tourism remains uncertain.
Originality Value: The present chapter provides an original empirical insight into the viewpoint of tourism staff, which is today subject to countless fears and deprivations. The extensive lockdown imposed by Argentinean government, accompanied by the impossibility to orchestrate a preparedness program of mitigation, has led the industry to a slow agony. The chapter reflects the rise of an anti-foreign discourse and sentiment oriented to demonize not only the Chinese (Asian) tourists but also expatriates living abroad. This anti-tourist discourse, which oppose to the neologism offered by Urry as the “tourist-gaze,” univocally exhibits the start of a radicalized hospitality we dubbed as “the wicked-gaze.” The “Other” is not an object of curiosity any longer, but “a potential enemy” to be controlled.
Korstanje, M.E. (2021), "Tourism Disaster Preparedness Post-COVID-19 Pandemic: The Example of Argentina", Gowreesunkar, V.G., Maingi, S.W., Roy, H. and Micera, R. (Ed.) Tourism Destination Management in a Post-Pandemic Context (Tourism Security-Safety and Post Conflict Destinations), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 69-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80071-511-020211005
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