There is no doubt that the covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the tourism industry. On a global level, it brought international travel in 2020 back to numbers similar to 30 years ago (UNWTO, 2020) and UNWTO data show that between January and May 2021 international tourist arrivals were 85% below 2019 levels. The pandemic forced tourism businesses across the globe to close and has had serious economic consequences, particularly for countries dependent on international tourism. At the same time, some regions and destinations, often nature-based, coastal or rural, experienced a large increase in domestic visitor numbers. Our reflections in this review revolve around innovation in tourism and the evolution of destinations over time. We consider the short and longer-term impacts of the pandemic on tourism and the prospects for more sustainable tourism futures. The central question is whether COVID 19 will prove to be a transformative ‘moment’ for tourism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalATLAS Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)13-26
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2022


  • Tourism
  • COVID-19
  • Change
  • Innovation


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