Impacts of COVID- 19 on Travel Industries

At this time, the coronavirus has caused a global pandemic with about half of a million people infected, about 16 000 deaths, and a mortality death rate of approximately 3.4 percent. Starting with only a few dozen patients who suffered pneumonia of unknown cause, COVID- 19 only took merely three months to get people around the world to fall into a state of panic. Along with the terror and fear of the invisible enemy, there are also many industries that may be halted and collapse because of the outbreak.

No industries can be left untouched by the COVID- 19; tourism and aviation are two of the most affected industries around the world. Countries have announced different travel restrictions, whether that be border shutdowns or quarantine rules. Moreover, most of them suggest or force tourists to remain where they are or cancel their trips altogether. Statistically, the loss of tourists hits many countries hard. For example, the international tourism revenue of Italy is estimated to decrease by roughly two billion euros from the absence of Chinese tourists alone. Along with that, according to Statista.com, as of March 2nd, 2020, the aviation industry in Europe is forecasted to face a decline of 33 percent in the number of passengers. The Asia Pacific region is expected to decline by about 57.3 billion U.S. dollars. In Canada and the United States, the aviation industry will approximately lose 21.1 billion U.S. dollars in passenger revenue. For Canada, Tourism Minister Melanie Joly told the reporter from Financial Post that Chinese tourists generate about two billion annually in Canada, but their numbers have dwindled and revenue from their visits is expected to be down by 550 million by June. On the other hand, Air Canada has laid-off roughly 5000 flight attendants. All the data reveals a possible downfall for the travel and aviation industries, which will possibly take ten months to recover as some analysts explained.


Another industry that is being hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak is the cruise industry. One of the ships which draw global focus is the Diamond Princess. The passengers were quarantined on the ship for a month off the coast of Japan, and more than 600 reported COVID-19 cases are linked to the ship; two died soon after leaving the ship. Another cruise named the Ruby Princess also caused panic and fear when an elder died after contracting with the virus in Australia. Due to the severe outbreak, pressure from the public and the governments have pushed the $45 billion cruise industry to cancel trips. Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Ltd., said: “People are scared to travel, and the trend will continue until [they] see the levelling off of new cases”. In total, there are nearly 40 cruises being cancelled and another 40 being rerouted. Moreover, shares of three major cruise lines have already experienced a 10 to 16 percent decline since January. According to NBC News, Carnival Cruise Lines predicts a 14 percent reduction in share price if the outbreak continues through May, and Royal Caribbean Cruises will have a 12 percent decrease in its annual earnings this year. Despite the fact that the cruise industry is struggling and facing huge losses, analysts do not think the outbreak is a threat to it as the cruise industry has been challenged by other viruses before, including the Norovirus and Chickenpox. An equity analyst with William Blair, a financial services company, said that “the cruise industry is really resilient”.


As previously stated, this outbreak caused by COVID-19 has harmed tourism, aviation, and cruise industries in a tremendous way. The global economy is also struggling to pull through. However, most countries believe that lives are far more important and precious than an economic downfall, and hopefully the industries which are affected can bounce back when the outbreak eventually subsides.


Written by Yuning Gu

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