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Tourism in the post COVID-19 era: evidence from hotels in the North East of England

Maria Zoi Spanaki (University of Sunderland, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, UK)
Andreas Papatheodorou (University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece)
Nikolaos Pappas (University of Sunderland, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, UK)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 31 May 2021

Issue publication date: 21 July 2021




This paper aims to examine developments in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic using the hotel sector in the North-East of England as the area of study. The country has attracted a lot of attention not only because of its importance as a tourism destination but also due to its rather controversial management of the pandemic at least in its early stages.


Fifteen semi-structured interviews based on ten open-ended questions were conducted with North East of England-based hotel managers of international brands on the level of their hotels’ preparedness to effectively deal with pandemic cases. The interviews took place in August and September 2020 with participants kept anonymous.


Meeting new operational and bureaucratic requirements added to the cost structure and proved a major challenge for managers who saw their hotel occupancy rates and revenue collapsing within a short period of time. Innovative and aggressive pricing strategies were introduced to lure especially younger travelers in the absence of business clientele. Staff were made redundant and/or asked to work overtime making effective human resource management very difficult.


This is one of the first research attempts to highlight the importance of the COVID-19 pandemic for the hotel sector in a major region of the UK. The paper also attempts some generalization by discussing managerial implications and suggesting a possible way forward for the hotel sector. Developing resilience by building on previously used successful business practices proves of essence.



Spanaki, M.Z., Papatheodorou, A. and Pappas, N. (2021), "Tourism in the post COVID-19 era: evidence from hotels in the North East of England", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 357-368.



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