The purpose of this paper is to provide a swift perspective to
JTFreaders on the novel coronavirus outbreak that commenced in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and is currently ongoing. The study situates the current outbreak within prior pandemics and offers some directions for research and practice. Swift attention is needed to this event and the future of travel and tourism in a world where disease outbreaks and pandemics will become increasingly frequent due to increased travel and ease of access to destinations worldwide. Design/methodology/approach
This paper draws from published academic research studies, as well as current media sources emerging, as the novel coronavirus situation is unfolding. In addition, the authors draw on the multidisciplinary expertise of the two authors (one based in tourism studies and the other an epidemiologist and public health expert).
This paper captures events on the novel coronavirus, as they are unfolding now, situates this in relation to the research literature on past pandemics like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Ebola and draws some important directions to guide research and practice.
This is a viewpoint paper and offers some emerging perspectives, issues and challenges arising in relation to the current novel coronavirus outbreak. This is situated more broadly in a large research literature that has been drawn on in a very succinct manner to ground this viewpoint. Future research will need to explore the larger literature.
This viewpoint offers the following valuable implications for practice at the local level and the regional/global level: countering misinformation and xenophobia through the communication of accurate facts related to the disease in question (the novel coronavirus in this case) is essential; close collaboration and cooperation between tourism stakeholders (including service providers and destination management organizations) and public health authorities; greater responsibility by residents and tourists to seek out correct scientific facts on the disease and take sensible precautions, as well as exercise care to those suffering the adverse impacts; and global coordination and attention to vulnerable destinations is needed more concretely (recommended in crisis management and recovery studies but not well implemented yet).
As noted above under practical implications, this viewpoint identified important social implications in terms of inequities and injustices that arise during disease outbreaks like the novel coronavirus and prior outbreaks like SARS and Ebola. These range from discrimination and racism as well as inequities related to managing the impacts on vulnerable destinations whose health facilities may be far from adequate to handle such outbreaks and the challenges of misinformation among visitors and residents that indirectly or directly affect the destination.
This viewpoint is being submitted as the novel coronavirus epidemic is unfolding, and it is hoped that sharing it speedily via an open access journal will assist in better managing the research of what will continue to be an increasing future challenge for destinations and societies in a world of mobilities and increasing travel forecast.