The tourism industry has seen major challenges and declining profits even before the global COVID-19 pandemic paralysed the world. Not only has the advent of OTAs (online travel agencies) and the platform economy such as Airbnb, booking.com, TripAdvisor, Traveloka, and Expedia (to name a few) toughened the market, extreme weathers caused by climate change has also led to fewer bookings.
“Typhoons and floods are becoming more intense and frequent as Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia bear the brunt of climate change,” wrote Singapore-based journalist Amit Prakash for IMF.
To add on, according to Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk Index, average temperatures in Southeast Asia have risen every decade since 1960. Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand are among 10 countries in the world most affected by climate change in the past 20 years. Virus or no virus, the climate crisis is here to stay and tourism will have to adapt. And against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty, the tourism industry will continue to be hit hard worldwide by COVID-19 – with no end in sight.
Sustainable tourism is the new normal. Here are a few things both the tourism industry and tourists can pivot towards to make tourism more resilient and climate friendlier.