29 March, 2021

The future of tourism with and after SARS-CoV-2: Situation assessment and tactical as well as strategic considerations

The Research Center for Tourism and Transport at the University of St. Gallen (which I lead) - together with colleagues from practice and academia - has made a third situation assessment on the topic of "Tourism in Times of Pandemic". The nearly thirty theses (see below) presented there allow only one conclusion: The transition period to normality, which will hopefully begin soon, will be bumpy and take a long time, but it will also open up many new opportunities. But there will be a New Normal in which tourism once again becomes an international growth factor, because travel is a basic need.

You can find this report (in German!) at


(1) The positive image of the alpine "Leisure" Tourism cannot hide the depressing image of of urban "commercial" tourism.

(2) The pandemic will not simply end. We need to think in terms of a flexible three-phase model.

(3) We must probably be prepared for a longer period of  with hopefully ever decreasing volatility. 

(4) Good framework conditions are central to perseverance.

(5) Road and rail before air. Individual tourists before group tourists.

(6) No stable mobility possibilities = no international visitor flows.

(7) We now know what domestic tourism looks like.

(8)  The country has new guests.

(9) Summer 2021 will probably be worse than summer 2020. 

(10) The best case for "Incoming" and "Outgoing" means  means the worst case for "Domestic".

(11) Different travel careers and cultures will lead to different  different tourism developments in the future. 

(12) The shock has turned the self-evident into the special. Do we see a sign of realignment of values here?

(13) Guests have booked at very short notice. 

Will they want to make such flexible decisions in the future as well?

(14) The average length of stay has increased. Is this a sign of essentialization in travel?

(15) The demand of the Swiss for more space, self-sufficiency and physical activities has increased. Is this an acceleration of a trend that has already been going on for some time?

(16) Tourist co-creations are becoming more digital and sustainable.

(17) Travel may become more land-based and less air-based.

(18) Making operations more flexible against the backdrop of of liquidity protection is central.

(19)  Will management of scarcity and visitor control become a new central "discipline"?

(20) Investments should first and foremost improve cost efficiency.

(21) The foundations must be laid for systematic and margin internalizing supply flexibilization.

(22) Flexibilization and efficiency enhancements in production are also necessary in the long term.

(23) Capital structures must be brought back into balance and alternatives to bank financing must be created.

(24) Appreciation must be transformed into value creation. 

(25) Sustainability in business models continues to gain importance. 

(26) Business and MICE tourism must reinvent themselves.

(27) "Brain" remains the most important scarce resource alongside financing. 

(28) The state will (have to) continue to play an active role.

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