COVID-19 outbreak has presented unprecedented circumstances before the fragile tourism and hospitality industry. The highly infectious novel corona virus continues to thwart the sector and raises serious questions about the present and future survival of the sector.
The novel COVID 19 outbreak was characterized by its rapid spread, which led to travel advisories issued by World Health Organization (WHO) countries around the globe as well issued travel bans so as to contain the spread of the novel corona virus. This travel restrictions and advisories revealed the vulnerability of the tourism and hospitality industry. The outbreak brought fears among unsuspecting tourists who had to quarantine themselves while on board. The infections and deaths on board portended the future of delicate tourism and hospitality industry across the globe.
It is an established fact that the Tourism and hospitality industry thrives on the patterns of visitations and a considerable efforts are placed by decision makers to attract visitors to support the sector and enhance the multiplier effect from the industry. But due to the ongoing situation travel restrictions are being observed at national and international levels. These travel bans, border closures, events cancellations, quarantine requirements and fear of spread; have placed extreme challenges on tourism and hospitality sectors.
TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure.
In other words, tourism is the movement of people for a number of purposes (whether business or pleasure).
Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a host where in the host receives the guest with goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It is also a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, food and drink service, event planning, theme parks, and transportation. It also includes restaurants and bars.
The hospitality industry provides services such as lodging and food for travelers, whether they are on the move for reasons of necessity, leisure or luxury. Hospitality is a major factor in every vacation and business trip, and thus important to individual customers and to businesses.
PERFORMANCE OF THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY AMIDST COVID19
As the effects of COVID-19 spread across the entire world, the primary focus for governments and businesses is the safety of their people. Whilst this focus will continue, the implications for economic growth and corporate profits have to lead to a sharp sell-off in equity markets across the globe. Hospitality and leisure clients, being the first ones that experienced the extreme bad weather conditions, are moving quickly and remain focused to understand and quantify the operational and financial impact for their business. The impact is huge, and not yet predictable, on both revenue and supply chains. Decisions being taken to shut down hotels, restaurants, theme parks, cinemas, not to mention the entire disruptive effect of the travel ecosystem, all have a significant impact on worldwide tourism. As a team, Operators and Investors are trying to mitigate the cash and working capital issues, and stay in close contact with their stakeholders.
The covid19 has also prominently reduced the need for leisure travel and search for hedonistic getaways. Despite the enormous blow, the sector is salvaging resources and ways to remain afloat for now, be it sturdier negotiations with suppliers for mutual sustenance, extensive cost reduction practices, or minimum mandatory period for accommodation bookings when visiting tourism destinations. Correspondingly, accommodation providers have extended support, mostly at some price, for those needing isolation during quarantine period and to those who are involved in treating COVID patients and cannot return to their usual place of residence. These initiatives, for now, indicate the ad hoc coping mechanisms adopted by the industry and appear to remain in place until some stability is attained.
However, in the midst of the pandemic, the sector has shown all level of maturity in working together with the medical teams and the government of their resident Nation to curtail the spread of the virus. Showing their true hospitality commitments in helping out the society in any way they can. For example they make their venue available for hospital beds and hospital employees. The situation we are in also brings new business models and opportunities, in defining for instance new delivery concepts, human capital sharing platforms, and the use of the less productive time to work on activities that were normally pushed forward like asset counts, security plans, defining standard operating procedures, social media plans etc.
The spread of COVID-19 and large-scale travel restrictions continue to wreak havoc on the global tourism and hospitality industry. The hospitality and tourism sector is almost and already facing collapse and is “in a fight for survival” due to the COVID-19 global health crisis. Hotels are especially susceptible to reduced tourism and travel along with a slowdown in economic activity. As events across the globe continue to be cancelled or postponed and hotel occupancy rates plummet, the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted severe blows on hoteliers worldwide.
Therefore, effective strategies are necessitated to boost travelers’ confidence and to help businesses recover in a timely manner after this public health crisis. The hotel industry’s resilience and sustainability can be solidified by addressing diverse consumption needs and taking steps to transform adversity into opportunity.