17 February, 2021

Tourism demand in times of/ after SARS-CoV2: What does one have to observe?

 Under the current volatile conditions, the extent of tourism demand this year is difficult to estimate. However, the analysis of the state of various indicators provides at least some degree of orientation.

The "environment" for tourism is currently very volatile due to the dynamics surrounding SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, it is also difficult to estimate the expected demand in the warm season of this year. But there are a number of factors, observation of which helps to at least gauge the direction of development. 

From the perspective of the observer in a given country or region, those factors are (in parentheses: extreme values/ expressions of continua, with the unfavorable mentioned first):

  • Vaccination rate in the selected foreign country (low - high)
  • Incidence of ongoing infection rate in the selected foreign country (high - low)
  • Vaccination rate in the selected domestic country (low - high)
  • Incidence of ongoing infection rate in selected domestic country (high - low)
  • Personal immunization status of traveling individuals (not vaccinated - vaccinated)
  • Level of immunization of SARS-CoV2 vaccination (individual protection - germicidal/ sterilizing)
  • Cure prospects of persons seriously ill with COVID-19 (bad - good)
  • Economic prospects in the selected foreign country (negative - positive)
  • Economic perspectives in the selected domestic country (negative - positive)
  • Entry and return conditions in the selected foreign country (constrained - unconstrained)
  • Entry and return conditions in the selected domestic country (constrained - unconstrained)
  • Accessibility by air between the selected countries (relations) (bad - good)
  • Psychological wellbeing of people (bad - good)
  • Dynamics of virus mutations (high - low)

Depending on the state of these criteria, they have either a neutral effect (=0), a positive effect on  visitor flows , i.e. they promote demand (+1), or they have a negative effect and dampen demand (-1). Those flows are (1) domestic within a selected country, (2) inbound into a selected country, and (3) outbound to a selected country. A table with those effects is presented below. When reading and interpreting this table, take a perspective from your own country or region.

Depending upon above described possible configurations, outcomes of tourism demand will be quite different.  A state of a factor which increases risks or inconveniences associated to travel will have a dampening effect - and vice versa with a state of a factor which decreases risks and minimizes inconveniences. Time will tell what states and outcome will finally materialize. Lets hope for the best.


  1. Hello Christian,
    nice post! It helps summarizing the hot issues.
    Just a question: when you talk about "the chosen foreign country" you mean both inbound and outbound flows? Taking, for example, the first issue (vaccination) I would expect that if the vaccination rate in country X is low there is a negative impact on both inbound flows in that country but also on outbound flows originating from the country. I mean if country X is France, people from other EU countries will not book a holiday there. At the same time, other countries may not be willing to host tourists coming from France (e.g. they can ask a health certificate at main access points).
    Valeria Minghetti (CISET)

    1. Hi Valeria
      The "selected/ chosen domestic country" for you would be Italy. The "selected/ chosen foreign country" is any country you would like to include in your assessment of INBOUND (from your selected country to Italy) or OUTBOUND tourism (from Italy to the selected country). It can also be just a region in a country or whatever geographic denomination you apply. With the approach you essentially assess visitors flows from one place to another. Hence, the situation at both "ends" of this flow matter.

      Hope that helps.
      Kind regards, Christian

  2. Thank you for the clarification. So, considering the vaccination rate, if in the foreign country it is low I would have expected to find -1 to both inbound and outbound. Italian tourism businesses and destinations do not like to host people coming from those countries and Italians do not like to go on holiday in those countries

  3. Inbound means in your case LAWYS inbound from this country to Italy, outbound means outbound from Italy to this country. The perspective is always your domestic country. If a receiving country has high vaccination rates, it will most likely receive tourists even if they are from countries with low vaccination rates (because their own population is protected). Inbound (in your case to Italy) is primarly a function of the vaccination rate of the own population.


Thanks for sharing your thought!