The Impact of COVID-19 on the Tourism Industry: The Case of MSMEs in Barcelona

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Tourism Industry: The Case of MSMEs in Barcelona

Najat Tort, Elena Puiggros
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6996-2.ch003
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The purpose of the present research is to analyze the impact of COVID-19 in touristic activity enterprises, which offer several experiences such as routes, visits, among others, in Barcelona. Many of these businesses are micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). An online questionnaire has been designed in order to collect data. The study provides timely and insightful implications for tourism practitioners who will be expected to prepare the post-corona field for a new normal after the experience of restricted living during an unprecedented pandemic.
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This study focuses on tourist guide micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Barcelona. Although it could be considered that it is premature to carry out an analysis of the impacts of the pandemic, the impact has been so excessive that it requires immediate action. Publications and studies about covid-19 consequences in tourism have been already published in April 2020. The contribution of this study lies more in the research rather than a topic of discussion. From particular studies, issues can be detected and be a contribution to MSMEs. Although each destination has its own particularities, concrete examples could shed light on this matter. The first part of this study is focused on risks in tourism from a general perspective. Secondly, we explain the impact of covid-19 on the tourism sector, particularly in Spain, Catalonia and Barcelona. After this theoretical framework, the study presents methodology and findings, which are focused on touristic MSMEs in Barcelona. Finally, like any other traditional study, there is a section dedicated to conclusions.

Since the covid-19 outbreak in China in January 2020, the coronavirus has spread rapidly around the world with social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts. Covid-19 is perceived as a crisis and tourism is a risk-sensitive and vulnerable industry and this has evoked considerable research that has focused on impacts, changing the perception of travel, and destination image (Li & Nguyen, 2020; Reddy et al. 2020; Ritchie & Jiang, 2019). In tourism research, the scholars studied both natural and human-induced disasters from different perspectives.

Table 1.
Perspectives of research focused on crisis impact
Crisis knowledge and risk intelligentParaskevas, Altinay, McLean, & Cooper, 2013; Paraskevas & Quek, 2019
ForecastingPage, Yeoman, Munro, Connell, & Walker, 2006; Prideaux, Laws, & Faulkner, 2003
Destination imageAvraham, 2015; Ketter, 2016; Zenker, von Wallpach, Braun, & Vallaster, 2019
Perceptions of risk and managementLiu-Lastres, Schroeder & Pennington-Gray, 2019; Tsai & Chen, 2010; Sembada & Kalantari, 2020; Li et al., 2020; Wolff et al., 2019; Ritchie & Jian, 2019; Richard et al., 2020.
Crisis indicatorsDe Sausmarez, 2007
Post-crisis recoveryCampiranon & Scott, 2014; Scott, Laws & Prideaux, 2007; Reddy et al, 2020; Qiu et al, 2020; Li et al., 2020; Romão, 2020; Romagosa, 2020; Shafi et al., 2020; Lew, 2020; Bhuiyan, et al., 2020.
Crisis detectionParaskevas & Altinay, 2013
Stakeholder collaborationHystad & Keller, 2008; Jiang & Ritchie, 2017
Crisis communication strategiesHenderson, 2003; Liu-Lastres et al., 2019; Wang & Ritchie, 2012
Terrorism preventionKılıçlar, Uşaklı, & Tayfun, 2018; Paraskevas & Arendell, 2007

Source: (Adapted from: Li et al, 2020; Reddy et al. 2020)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pandemic: An epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.

UNWTO: The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

OCDE: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

MSME: Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

ERTE: Temporary lay-off plans. ERTE allows companies to temporarily send workers home or reduce their working hours and readmit them on their previous conditions after a certain amount of time.

Tourist Destination: Is a unique place where a visitor spends at least one night and exhibit tourism products such as attractions, support services, and tourism resources complete with defined management, physical and administrative boundaries, and a well-known image.

Economic Impact: Effects on the economy are either direct or indirect. Economic impacts associated with tourism arise as a result of the demand and supply relationships in the industry, the associated visitor and investment expenditure patterns that they stimulate, and the structure of the economy.

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