COVID-19 and Alternative Tourism: New Destinations and New Tourism Products

COVID-19 and Alternative Tourism: New Destinations and New Tourism Products

Buket Buluk Eşitti (Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8231-2.ch038
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Abstract

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism is expected to lose between $900 billion and $1.2 trillion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also estimated that the decrease in the total number of tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic will occur between 58% and 78%. It can be said that competition in the tourism sector will be experienced intensely among countries with alternative tourism diversity when evaluated in terms of outbreaks that may occur in COVID-19 process and after. In this context, it is seen that natural habitats, physical spaces isolated from society, digitalization, and smart tourism applications will gain more importance in terms of tourism activities and will come to the fore in the destination preferences of tourists. Based on this, this chapter aims to examine the subject of COVID-19 and alternative tourism in the context of new destinations and new tourism products.
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Introduction

COVID-19 is a virus outbreak that occurred on December 1, 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei region of China (Singhal, 2020). The virus, which has the feature of spreading rapidly, spread to many countries in a short time due to the high active population and international travels. The transmission rate of the virus, which can be transmitted between individuals, has grown in mid-January 2020, and during this period, virus cases have been reported in various countries in Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. The World Health Organization (WHO) (2020a) declared the COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Then, on March 13, 2020, WHO (2020a) announced that Europe has become the center of the COVID-19 crisis. Since the regions and countries that are within the impact area of the COVID-19 pandemic constitute the most important part of the international tourism market. Tourism sector has been one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (Uğur and Akbıyık, 2020). The policy of combating the pandemic, which was implemented with a focus on minimizing social mobility, negatively affected the airline transport, accommodation and food and beverage sector. It is envisioned that the compensation of financial losses in these sectors, which are the main components of tourism service, will take a long time.

Considering the impact of tourism on employment, it is estimated that pandemic-induced unemployment rates may reach serious levels. COVID-19, on the one hand, restricts the socializing feature of tourism, on the other hand, highlights the relaxing and healing properties of tourism. One of the most important ways to eliminate the psychological effects of quarantine and restriction processes on societies is the internalization of tourism activities. In the new world, “masked and distant” service principles, which has brought to human life by the Pandemic, will be only one of the sectoral practices (Gümüş and Hacıevliyagil, 2020).

What the pandemic brings and will bring in social life, it is thought that regulations will highlight alternative types of the tourism sector and customer preferences and expectations will focus on these types such as nature-based tourism and cultural tourism (Stone, Mogomotsi, and Mogomotsi, 2020; Flew and Kirkwood, 2021). Individual reflexes persuade and buy considering that the effect on the reception processes will be at the forefront not only during the pandemic, where hygiene is prioritized, but also in the post-pandemic process, the possible alternative touristic types should be supported against demand increases and their physical facilities and capabilities should be developed immediately.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Smart Tourism: A type of tourism supported by efforts in order to collect data from physical infrastructure, social connections, state/organization resources and the human mind.

Overtourism: A situation where the number of tourists at a destination and the nature of the tourism industry is perceived to be diminishing the quality of life of residents, the quality of experiences of tourists, and the quality of the physical environment, including both cultural and natural heritage.

Alternative Tourism: A type of tourism that includes different regions into tourism activities through various tourism activities, reduces the concentration on certain regions and spreads tourism to 12 months, strengthening the relations with the environment, local people, and tourists.

Slow Tourism: A tourism understanding that gives the opportunity to get to know the places and the people better, and to participate in their daily lives better, rather than rushing around.

Small Tourism: A tourism type that is local entrepreneur-oriented, sensitive to the environment, socio-cultural structure, can be realized gradually in the long term aims to make the interactions between nature-human, environment and tourism activities beneficial which aims to protect the ecological system balances, keep the dynamic impact to a minimum and support moderate economic development.

Destination: The places with different natural attractions and features that will be considered attractive for tourists.

COVID-19: A virus that was first identified on January 13, 2020 as a result of research conducted in a group of patients who developed respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) in Wuhan Province of China in late December.

Tourism Product: A combination of accommodation, food and beverage, transportation, entertainment, and many other services that the tourist benefits during their travel.

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