Virus Outbreaks and Tourism Mobility

Cover of Virus Outbreaks and Tourism Mobility

Strategies to Counter Global Health Hazards



Table of contents

(18 chapters)

The aim of this chapter is to study catastrophic pandemics which have occurred in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and their disruptive impact on tourism mobility. A detailed study of past pandemics is conducted starting from the black death or bubonic plague of 1346 to the recent COVID-19 outbreak and effect of these diseases on the tourism and economy of the infected countries. Studies show that influenza pandemics will prove to be the most dangerous in future, and the next outbreak could occur from any of the 16 known HA (haemagglutinin) subtypes. Also, it is found that tourism itself has been responsible for spread of pandemic outbreaks as countries around the world put an enormous emphasis on increased growth of tourist numbers. Among recent pandemics, it was severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that caused the major decrease in international tourist arrivals although for a short term. Such pandemics have a negative effect on tourism destinations by damaging their image and competitiveness, and as a result, leading to disruptions in mobility of tourists, with Asian countries being the most at risk of such disruptions. Therefore, the findings of this study stress the need for pre-crisis management to handle such outbreaks, better traveller tracking system to check infected persons and the need for tourism destinations to diversify their economies to reduce dependency on tourism.


Due to the modernization of medical technology and better standard of living today, the world is better equipped to fight a pandemic today than it was in 1918, when Spanish flu swept the globe and infected up to one-third of the world's population (Population Reference Bureau (PRB), 2020). While science and medical advances have given humanity new advantages in fighting disease, some demographic trends today may increase the risk for spreading contagions and our vulnerability to viruses. This is mainly due to the sheer volume of today's population movements, from migration and travel as people fly within and across countries. This vast mobility may make it faster and easier for viruses to spread around the world. COVID-19, which purportedly started in 2019, was a global pandemic that now affects the whole world due to high mobility among countries. This has caused many countries across regions in the world to implement a lockdown in their respective countries to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This pandemic may have introduced a new norm in society today.


Purpose – Purpose of the research is to make a comprehensive study to elucidate the existing landscape of scientific production of disease outbreaks, pandemics and tourism research. In doing so, authors analyzed scientific production of pandemics and tourism-related studies such as year-wise publications, productive authors, institutes, funding sponsors, thematic areas of research and citation analysis.

Design/methodology/approach – Authors analyzed the research papers indexed in the online Scopus database over 50 years of time starting from 1971 to 2020 by using bibliometrics, and the data are visualized by using data visualization tools like VOSviewer and the Tableau.

Findings – The understanding of disease outbreaks and pandemics in tourism has increased over the years in terms of number of papers, citation, networks and collaborative themes of research.

Research limitations/implications – Data for the study were generated from Scopus online database and limited to English-written journal articles that were produced with search strategy of specific keywords associated with tourism, virus, pandemics and disease outbreak.

Practical implications – Findings of the research provide insights into academia and practitioners on the understanding of disease outbreaks, pandemics and tourism research, coherent development of the concept and understanding the research gap and focussed area of research.

Originality/value – As per authors' understanding, this paper would be one of the first attempts to provide greater understanding of disease outbreaks, pandemics and tourism as a research topic by examining the growth and evolution in an academic context through bibliometric analysis.

Paper type – Review paper.


Recently, the tourism industry in Asian countries has been adversely affected by two significant drivers: health emergencies and climatic changes. Virus outbreaks such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Ebola, avian flu, Zika virus and H1N1 influenza virus have caused much greater damage to the tourism and travel industry of Asian countries as compared to the more localized natural disasters and crises such as tsunami, Kathmandu earthquake, Typhoon Mangkhut in Indonesia, etc., resulting in huge job losses, severe financial losses, shutdowns and human casualties. The purpose of this study is to briefly discuss the major viral outbreaks in the Asian countries and discuss their impact on the tourism industry. It will also discuss the resilience strategies taken by the Asian countries to re-emerge their tourism markets from these outbreaks. It will be based on the systematic review of the earlier literature on the various viral outbreaks and the corresponding resilience measures in the Asian peninsula. While the association between the pandemic and travel has been widely discussed in previous studies (Kuo, Chen, Tseng, Ju, & Huang, 2008; Lee, Son, Bendle, Kim, & Han, 2012), there is still no specific study which provides a comprehensive outlook on the various viral outbreaks and the tourism resilience strategies in Asia. It might also help the tourism industry stakeholders from the Asian countries to adequately identify and thoroughly plan for the possible future outbreaks and align resilience measures accordingly.


Purpose: This paper aims to review the effect of the 2003 SARS epidemic on tourism and to analyze the learning outcomes from this crisis critically. The study further proposes practical and strategic tips for airlines, hoteliers and destination marketers in the top Asian tourism market such as India, China, Singapore and Thailand if a similar crisis affects the region.

Study Design/Methodology/Approach: The study followed the qualitative approach for deriving the findings. The research reviewed past literature by using the Prisma method, which is an evidence-based minimum set of items, for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The research summarized the previous literature on the SARS outbreak in 2003 and reviewed various practices for tourism industry sustainability.

Finding: The study provides the information of how the airlines, hoteliers and destination marketers tackled the SARS epidemic and proposes the integrated strategy for managing such crisis in future.

Originality/Value: This paper performed the systematic literature review of all the relevant researches related to the 2003 SARS outbreak and its effect on the tourism industry.

Implications: This paper suggests the strategies and practices based on past reviews and learnings from experiences which may be useful for the tourism stakeholders to tackle and minimize the effect of such crisis in future.


Purpose: The purpose of the present study is to synthesize and organize existing literature on contagious diseases and tourism. This systematic mapping of the literature helps to identify various mature and emerging themes around the research domain in the literature.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The study uses systematic methodology along with bibliometric and content analysis. Using a combination of electronic database searching and forward and backward references searching, the study identifies 160 suitable published studies.

Findings: Initial bibliometric analysis reveals that Tourism Geographies and Tourism Management are most influential journals and Law and Lee are most influential authors working on this field. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Universiti Sains Malaysia are among the top contributing educational and research organizations. Further, the content analysis reveals that literature on contagious diseases and tourism industry revolves around three prominent themes namely SARS and other contagious diseases, crisis management and tourism forecasting.

Research Limitations/Implications: The study does not consider ‘grey literature’ and conference proceedings.

Originality and Value: Present study is one of the early attempts that analyzes the literature on contagious diseases and tourism using bibliometric analysis and contributes to the literature by identifying various mature and emerging on contagious diseases and tourism literature. These insights provide a robust map for future investigation in this field and also offer implications for practitioners.


Epidemiological problems often result in new panoramas and challenges for tourism. The hospitality industry and activity in Brazil, and on the planet, have created new architectural forms to handle the sanitary needs that are required, at every moment, due to health problems that arise. At the end of the nineteenth century and up to the twentieth century, the creation of places to host sick, and even healthy people seeking treatment and safety, gave rise to numerous tourist destinations around the world. In this way, it is to point out these practices in different medium-sized locations in Brazil, developed through – and in function of –installation of these accommodations, such as Campos do Jordão (SP), Petropolis (RJ), Garanhuns (PE) and São Francisco de Paula (RS). This research seeks to explore, by means of a bibliographic reference survey, about this demand. It is believed that these, associated since the tuberculosis crisis, after a century and a half, are able to provide answers to the world regarding the current urban and architectural challenge established with the new COVID-19 pandemic. This time, as in previous times, new paradigms of uncertainty emerge across the planet, also leading to new challenges for hosting equipment. These, today, are no longer seen as possibilities for treatment or distancing, but to meet a new global approach to health security. In presenting this panorama, this research seeks to achieve and present new expectations for the lodging industry in terms of new and future protocols and post-epidemic social demands.


COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected worldwide. One of the major industrial sectors impacted by COVID-19 virus is the travel and hospitality, and it has resulted in extreme level of unemployment in travel and tourism industries especially hotels, restaurant chains, street food caterers and bars. Cancellations of events, conferences, conventions and sports leagues are instantaneously causing severe impact on the travel and tourism and hospitality industry. The unemployed workforce is facing numerous mental health challenges in the form of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, lack of confidence and loss of interest in life which are leading them to maladaptive coping mechanisms like suicide, alcohol and substance abuse. This chapter discusses the following topics:


Macao survived the COVID-19 pandemic with only 46 confirmed cases and zero death (Macao Government Information Bureau, 2020). As one of the densest tourism cities in the world, Macao was as vulnerable as any other cities under severe outbreak. The success was the result of instant responses from government, support from large enterprises and cooperation of the community. The pandemic fighting process was examined in five phases, in which a few key criteria were demonstrated in managing the crisis. Despite the positive result, the Macao government also learnt a lesson in future planning when the pandemic once again revealed the weakness of sole dependence on the tourism industry.


The COVID-19 pandemic, which started in Hubei province of the People's Republic of China and spread to all parts of the world, has also deeply affected the tourism industry. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has faced many epidemics in recent years. Tourism has also been affected by many epidemics since the 2000s. These epidemics are severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), bird flu, Ebola, swine flu, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Zika. According to these epidemics, the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected international tourism. Borders were closed, curfews were declared in many countries and quarantine practices were made for 14 days from those who came from outside the border. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic is quite different from other epidemics. In April 2020, international flights were stopped for the first time in tourism history all over the world. From this point of view, the aim of the study is to compare the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and epidemics that occurred after the 2000s on the tourism sector. The study focuses on COVID-19 pandemic, SARS, bird flu, Ebola, swine flu, MERS and Zika epidemics. The study also includes a review of studies on epidemics in previous years.


Based on a news media review, this chapter explores how micro enterprises (MEs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the Norwegian tourism sectors were impacted by COVID-19 in early 2020. It examines central stakeholders' and tourism SMEs and MEs first responses to the pandemic. Similar to previous crises and disasters, the case of COVID-19 demonstrates the reliance on top-down management approaches, notably governmental compensation schemes and subsidies. Given the magnitude of the impacts related to travel bans and border closures, response mechanisms remained largely insufficient. The media reviews reveals that in the first months after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Norwegian tourism SMEs and MEs have responded in five ways that are to some extent time-displaced yet continue simultaneous: (1) early response to business survival, (2) smaller operational changes, (3) employee layoff and bankruptcies, (4) innovation and alternative income sources and (5) gradual reopening. The Norwegian tourism recovery will strongly rely on domestic tourism which requires a reorientation of communication strategies and Norwegianization (Fornorsking) of product development and innovation. Some Norwegian destinations have already demonstrated that high dependability on international tourists and often disintegrated tourism development may threaten sustainability and prosperity of local communities, and post-COVID-19 recovery strategies will be needed that mitigate the dependence on international markets, mono-seasons or tourism as a mono-industry.


Cultural consumption is the study of the motivation for the consumption of, and experiences related to factors such as lifestyle, soft skills, landscapes, traditions, professions, history and nature etc. Innovative approaches in experiential marketing such as customization, service diversification and cultural assimilation for strengthening customer relationships are recommended strategic approaches for supporting business growth and development. In recent times the pandemic situation in Japan resulted in a 93% decline in inbound tourism (JNTO, 2020). To support customer trust and relationship Japanese resorts such as Onsens and Ryokans embarked on innovative experiential marketing strategies to continue customer relationship while also dealing with the official prescribed restrictions for preventing the spread of infection. This chapter explores the innovative experiential marketing adopted by Japanese resorts and contributes to the identified need for more knowledge in the area. A multiple case approach was adopted and information from 12 resorts was obtained through secondary data. Results identify five innovative marketing approaches that were used by the Japanese resorts studied in this research. The chapter contributes theoretically in relating cultural consumption to experiential marketing in COVID-19 times, opens discussion for policy implications and aims to provide some inspiration to other firms in the business of tourism related to cultural consumption.


This study looked at how Vietnam, a developing country, in South East Asia has systemically dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic on a national level with remarkable success. This study delved into the approaches taken by Vietnam in pre-mediating the influx of COVID-19 from interlopers into the country and controlling its spread within the confines of the nation. This study examined the steps taken by Vietnam. The quick actions of the government have instilled confidence in their citizens and promoted greater internal travel mobility within the Vietnam, thus helping the local tourism industry to remain vibrant and competitive. Unlike other countries, which have been severely affected by the COVID-19 virus, Vietnam is poised for a head start in its recovery.


According to the current body of literature published, the outbreak of coronavirus is estimated to have an immense influence both on the supply and demand sides of the tourism industry. The lockdown and the risk of disease has in/directly forced consumers to respond to their regular life patterns in general and consumption patterns in tourism, travel and hospitality operations in particular. Consumers have mostly begun using online shopping platforms for varying reasons, and online platforms have become a great opportunity for businesses to transform their regular operations and collect the individualized data of consumers across the globe. On the other hand, the service providers have had a short break in their operations by thinking about different ways on how to respond to possible changes both in production and consumption patterns. For instance, passengers, particularly those who are elderly and less risk aversive, are less likely to board on flights and take cruise tours in the short term. Using own cars instead of benefiting from car rental services, on the other hand, have appeared to be an alternative way of travelling to short-haul destinations. As a result, this chapter aims to provide a generic discussion of how the coronavirus is likely to influence the services operated by the aviation industry. The chapter, to a greater extent, benefits from the results of existing conceptual/empirical studies, media news as well as the reports of various international organizations such as UNWTO and IATA.


Set against the background of uncertainty and crisis generated by COVID-19, policymakers, destination marketers and tourism and hospitality managers are struggling in trying to envision how, and till when, tourist behaviour will be changed and transformed by this pandemic and how tourists will select the accommodation where to stay during their holiday.

So far, a limited number of academic studies have been devoted to analyzing how travellers will select the accommodation for their holidays. This urges academicians to fill this gap with the aim to provide practitioners with fresh and insightful knowledge to support their decision-making in a tourism era where everyone seems to be shifting towards a ‘new normality’ of uncertain duration.

This study was therefore carried out to contribute to this debate by presenting and discussing findings of an empirical investigation applying a factor–cluster analysis on a sample of 225 French consumers/travellers to profile them based on accommodation selection criteria. Further, a series of chi-square tests was run to investigate whether significant differences exist among clusters based on their sociodemographic characteristics (i.e. gender, age, level of occupation, employment status) and travel-related variables (i.e. the preferred type of accommodation and the length of the holiday).

Findings contribute to deepening the scientific debate about how tourists' behaviour is being transformed in a tourism era affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, our results will provide accommodation marketers with useful information to be used to effectively plan and implement their service design to meet tourists' expectations and needs.

Cover of Virus Outbreaks and Tourism Mobility
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Book series
Tourism Security-Safety and Post Conflict Destinations
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Emerald Publishing Limited