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Where coronavirus will hurt tourism the most

The countries to be hardest hit by coronavirus

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus outbreak is having a huge impact on global tourism, largely because of the massive contribution outbound travel from China, the epicentre of the virus, makes to the industry. 


But which nations are likely to be hardest hit by the downturn in travel caused by the virus? 


Tourists in Cambodia


According to Animesh Kumar, Director of Travel & Tourism Consulting at UK-based research firm, GlobalData, the affects of the virus will be felt most severely in Southeast Asia. 


“While the impact of Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is being felt by several countries across the globe, it is likely to be severe in [the] case of tourism-dependent countries across Southeast Asia,” he said. 


Not only do many countries in this region depend greatly on tourism, but their tourism industries also rely to a large degree on Chinese visitation. Among these nations are Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.


Specifically, Kumar highlights Cambodia, where tourism is among the top two industries in the country, and Vietnam, where inbound travel contributes 6-7% of GDP. 


“The scenario is similar in other key tourist destinations in Southeast Asia as countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore are expected to lose US$3-6 billion in tourism-related revenues,” he remarked.


According to GlobalData, Chinese travellers accounted for around 12% (159 million) of the world’s international tourists in 2019, with its outbound market also the second most valuable (at US$275 billion last year).   


Kumar says that the most important takeaway for tourism from the coronavirus outbreak is the need to reduce reliance on Chinese travellers.


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 17 February 2020

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