COVID-19 and its potential impact on stages of tourist destination development

Butler, Richard (2021) COVID-19 and its potential impact on stages of tourist destination development. Current Issues in Tourism. pp. 1-14. ISSN 1368-3500

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    Literature on the impacts of COVID 19 reveals thathow the effects of the pandemic may be experienced at destinations in different stages of their development has not been studied. This paper discusses the impact of a break in tourism visitation to destinations caused by COVID 19 and uses the Tourism Area Life Cycle model as a framework from which to argue that the scale and importance of the impacts on destinations will vary depending on the stage of the development cycle reached by any specific destination. Such impacts may range from a short term and temporary loss of tourists to a permanent departure of the destination from tourism. It is argued that the nature and degree of recovery of the tourism market at any specific destination will vary in speed and level of recovery, the degree of permanence of impacts, and the likelihood of destinations retaining their overall appeal after the pandemic has ended, depending on their stage of development. The paper concludes with a discussion of the possibility of destinations using the pandemic to reposition themselves in terms of their markets, and attempting to modify the tourism industry itself.