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The new normal in tourism: putting people first

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Published: 10 July 2020

Lecturer in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Dr Nike Adebayo

Lecturer in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Dr Nike Adebayo discusses how global tourism has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown.

In particular, she talks about the strategic management approaches for the recovery of the tourism industry.

"Because of the travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the global tourism industry has seen millions of job losses.

During the peak of the pandemic, 163 out of 217 destinations (or 75%) put a complete hold on international tourism

But some countries are now beginning to ease these travel restrictions.

Nevertheless, the future seems uncertain for the tourism industry, and even more so for the communities in developing countries that rely on tourism for their livelihoods.

Before the outbreak, the idea of putting local people first in their communities’ tourism planning had increasingly been discussed in the literature.

For example, working with the communities, and letting them take the lead in tourism planning.

The effects of the pandemic mean we have to rethink tourism planning approaches.

That’s why the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has highlighted the need for inclusive management as the ‘new normal’ in tourism.

Doing this will help the sector come back stronger and eventually be more sustainable.

UNWTO, along with the World Health Organisation (WHO), has also called for increased coordination in health measures at destinations.

This would involve seeking informed consent of local communities, focusing on public health concerns, social inclusion, biodiversity conservation, climate action, among others.

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic could be a chance for communities in developing countries to have their say.

It presents an opportunity for the local people to talk about matters that affect them the most and become more relevant to the planning and development of tourism in their areas.”

You can find out more about Dr Adebayo’s work on her profile page.

If you’re interested in studying International Tourism and Hospitality Management or Events and Entertainment Management, visit the Tourism, Hospitality and Event course page.

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