Professor Ritchie is Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on tourism risk management. His work on organisations explores management attitudes toward risk and strategies to effectively respond and recover from crises and disasters. He also explores tourist attitudes to risk and consumer risk reduction strategies in a range of contexts.
COVID, travel and tourism: Identifying effective response and recovery strategies
Travel and tourism industries are extremely vulnerable to crises and disasters. Tourism is impacted by a range of external shocks including financial crises, political instability, natural disasters and health crises. The current COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to reduce global tourism by 70-80% (UNWTO, 2020). The impact is not uniform. Industry sectors such as airlines and hotels have been impacted more than retail and hospitality. Similarly, countries are at different stages of border closure making it difficult for international travel to resume. This presentation presents initial observations on the impacts, response and recovery strategies for travel and tourism. The paper draws on previous research from health and other crises that have impacted tourism. It identifies possible strategies and directions for tourism in the short and long term. The presentation also reflects on opportunities for tourism and travel to ‘build back better’ by using COVID-19 to transform both business and industry practices.