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August 23, 2021

By Auliana Poon

1 Minute Read


Is COVID-19 Killing Tourism? What is to be Done?
The Pandemic year, 2020, was the worse year in tourism history.

Is Tourism Dying?

Covid 19 has definitely slowed the growth of tourism. In fact, tourism has disappeared in may locations, especially remote locations and small islands.


2019 was a super year for Travel and Tourism.  World tourism arrivals grew by 4%, reaching 1.5 billion arrivals, and generating US$1.7 trillion in direct revenues, reported the World Tourism Organisation.


The Pandemic year, 2020, was the worse year in tourism history.


The year 2020 saw 1 billion less international tourist arrivals and US$ 1.3 trillion in direct revenues, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

The Worst Year for Caribbean Tourism

For the Caribbean, for example, 2019 was a bumper year recording 32 million arrivals and 4.4% growth over 2018.  At the same time, 2020 was a real disaster.  The Caribbean lost between 60 and 75% of international arrivals. This decline has enormous implications for export earnings, national income, foreign exchange and for the survival and sustainability of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS).

Source:, Caribbean2021_.pdf

Old Tourism is Dead

Covid 19 disrupted our traditional, old business models for tourism – the old, Fordist, mass, standardized and rigidly-packaged types of holidays that the world and travellers had grown accustomed to. 


Is this a bad thing – the demise and destruction of the old, outdated mass-tourism models?

Covid 19 Is The Biggest Opportunity For Tourism In A Lifetime

Covid 19 disrupted our ‘business as usual’ syndrome; Covid 19 has simply awaken us from our comfortable ‘old tourism’ slumber.


Covid 19 allows us to pause; to stop; to re-think; to reconsider; to re-invent ourselves; and according to Hon Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley, to ‘pivot’

But what should this pivot look like in Travel and Tourism?

We would love to hear from you. Engage with us. 

About the Author:

Dr. Auliana Poon
Managing Director/Chief Strategist
Leve Global

auliana poon

Dr. Auliana Poon heads Leve-Global.  She is a courageous and passionate businesswoman. A trained Economist, Dr. Poon is a management consultant and strategist with a focus on sustainable and responsible tourism, climate adaptation, and regenerative economic development. Dr. Poon led teams that developed innovative economic solutions for over 50 countries around the world including Australia, Barbados, the Bahamas, Iceland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mozambique, Singapore, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland and Zambia.

An experienced researcher and analyst with fiercely independent thought, Dr Poon believes that developing countries cannot continue to compete with natural attributes – Sun, Sand, Sea, Oil and Natural Gas alone.  For success and sustainability, a more people-centred, culture-oriented, innovation-based, sustainability-directed, technology-focused and talent-driven approach is needed. 

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