May 30, 2024

Coronavirus Changed the Travel and Tourism Industry Forever

Coronavirus Changed the Travel and Tourism Industry Forever

How did the world change in the past 100 years? 

It’s hard to pinpoint one specific moment in history, but if pressed,

many would say it was carried out with the introduction of the coronavirus.

This virus originally produced cold-like symptoms and was originally thought to be fairly harmless. 

That is, until 1995 when scientists isolated two new strains that lead to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). 

The virus spread throughout Asia and cost the global economy an estimated $30 to $50 billion.

This outbreak is still studied today by researchers who are trying

to understand how to contain this deadly virus, and finally find a cure for it.

Although SARS did not end up being as deadly as initially thought,

it did have lasting consequences on the travel industry. 

It was responsible for nearly 7,000 cases of infection and 609 deaths

Furthermore, it had a noticeable impact on public perception of Asian countries (and countries in general), especially southern China. 

This led the Chinese government to impose its own travel restrictions beginning in 2005

when SARS was at its peak in terms of cases and death rates. 


For many years, there were also anti-Chinese sentiments expressed by

many countries that tried to benefit from the situation by exploiting China’s loss of tourism revenue.   

For example, several online travel agencies had ads that asserted that

they would save money since they would not have to pay for holidays in China.

Why is this significant? Well, the travel industry has always been too reliant on tourists. 

Even with new technologies available, tourism is still the most important source of revenue for many countries. 

The introduction of a deadly disease to one of these countries

with high tourism revenue forced them to rethink their business decisions. 

One company that was affected was Singapore Airlines (SIA).

The company that had over 14% of its market capitalization wiped out eventually made a turnaround and ended up being worth half what it was before the outbreak (only 2 years after the outbreak). 

This is just one example of how almost every sector has been touched by SARS and how this virus changed travel in an enormous way.

Puhoi Surf School

This was a small surf school in the (then) New Zealand town of Puhoi, run by four young surfers. 

They hoped that they could make a sustainable living out of surfing. 

Early on, there was some concerns that after SARS ended, the economy would suffer if people were fearful to travel to Asia at all and specifically China. 

But instead of negative impacts on the economy, it proved to be beneficial for the area. 

Visitors became more engaged due to the scare and local businesses saw their revenues jump up dramatically.

The Puhoi Surf School, on the other hand, did not rely that heavily on tourism as a method of income. 

When the surfers first started out, they were hoping to find other ways to make money for themselves. 

In fact, it was their loss of income that made them go into the surf business in the first place.

What Went Wrong: The four surfers tried to do too much and ended up overextending themselves. 

As if dealing with SARS was not difficult enough, they also had problems dealing with their own business issues and poor planning informed by poor decision-making abilities.

The original group of surf instructors had a lot of trouble separating their private and public life, often socializing with students. 

This led to a drop in revenue due to the lack of professionalism they showed.

When dealing with their own problems, they often tried to cut corners by renting out their equipment, which then became damaged beyond repair. 

 How Did They Turn It Around?

They had an opportunity to get sponsored by one of the big surf brands but unfortunately, they rejected the offer after it was already too late.  The Brews News

After going through so much hardship at such a young age, it is a wonder why any of the four would want to continue in the surf business; or any business for that matter. 

To their credit, they did not give up and finally decided to focus on their strengths: surfing. In fact, they were huge fans of surfing. 

This allowed them to focus on the one thing they really loved and gave them the opportunity to become closer friends with their students by showing them a great time in the water. 

In this video you can see how these surf instructors are still able to teach even though things were tough for them. 

It was almost like a second chance for these four individuals who took this opportunity and ran with it

Avatar for Aaron Finch

Aaron Finch

There are many labels that could be given to describe me, but one thing’s for certain: I am an entrepreneur with passion. Whether it's building websites and social media campaigns for new businesses or traveling the world on business trips - being entrepreneurs means constantly looking at yourself in a different light so as not get bored of your own success!

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