Due to the coronavirus, people around the world have canceled their travel plans. Governments and health officials have warned the public to avoid boarding cruise ships and long flights. Major events like conferences, trade shows, and the Olympics have been canceled or postponed.
As a result, many businesses in the travel and tourism industry are likely to find themselves in jeopardy.
Predicting the economic impact of the coronavirus right now is akin to participating in a running competition without knowing how long the course is. However, a few things are already clear.
We conducted a study during the third week of March with more than 2,000 travelers from 28 countries. Via Amazon Mechanical Turk, we asked respondents about their travel behaviors during the pandemic.
Our study showed that 63.8% of travelers will reduce their travel plans in the next 12 months. More than half canceled their business travel immediately due to the coronavirus.
The results of our study predict that, compared to last year, the travel industry, which includes businesses such as airlines, hotels, and restaurants, will shrink by 50% in 2020, which would mean a significant loss of jobs and revenue.
The number of international travelers could shrink from 1.4 billion to fewer than 1 billion people. That would be the first time the international traveler number has fallen that low since 2015. In the case of IRAN as it has a specific type of travelers who interested to visit, and when you compare it to the number of available tourism companies.... it will be a nightmare.
We also asked respondents to rate their perceived image of China and Italy, two of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. Interestingly, the U.S. travelers’ image of China and Italy has deteriorated. The image of China was damaged most significantly, as some people blame China for the spread of the virus.
However, we expect that this image may recover soon, as research shows that travelers have a short memory about the negative aspects of a destination after a disaster.