Post-Pandemic Tourism: Recovery or Reform?

Oia, Santorini, Greece. By User: Bgabel at q373 shared, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22682391

by Dr Heather Skinner

Almost overnight the travel and tourism industry has gone from focusing on the problems of overtourism to undertourism, and in many cases, the real prospect of no tourism at all in 2020 due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. However, as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recently warns that international tourism could fall by as much as 80% in 2020[1] and as many countries have started to ease their strict lockdown measures, it is time to think about what we want for the future of post-pandemic tourism when we come out the other side of this crisis. By number, well over 90% of all tourism businesses are categorised as Small and Medium sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), and many of these are micro-businesses employing few if any others outside of immediate family. The demise of tour operator Thomas Cook in 2019 hit many of these businesses hard. Now in 2020, tourism business have been hit by the response to COVID-19, an unprecedented global crises that has brought about travel bans, border closures, event cancellations, closure of tourist accommodation, and the grounding of flights all over the world.

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Understanding Responsible Tourism

Overtourism
Amsterdam: One of the cities in Europe trying to push back against overtourism

by Dr Heather Skinner

While the term “responsible tourism” is widely used these days, are we really sure we understand what the term means, and who is actually “responsible”? This article will address both of these questions, along with some related issues concerning tourism ethics and the concept of sustainability. While it has been recognised that, for tourism businesses, responsibility is seen to encompass ethics and sustainability, there remains little written about these issues[1]. It is also important to note that many tourism businesses are Small and Medium Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) whose business focus is not always on such matters, especially in a highly competitive and crowded market, in times of continuing financial crisis or constraint.

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Short-term holiday flat rental in Athens

Athens. Image by Iason Athanassiadis via Apartment in Athens

By Prof Ares Kalandides

Finding an affordable flat to rent in Athens has recently turned into an almost impossible affair. In the past five years, rents in the Greek capital have risen sharply, whilst at the same time period real wages have collapsed. One of the many possible causes behind the scarcity of rental space is the transformation of dwellings into short-term holiday flats. Airbnb is not the only provider, but definitely the largest and most iconic one.

Indeed, in the centre of Athens alone, the number of listings on the platform rose from 1,500 in 2014 to 7,500 two years later, and up to 16,000 by June 2018[1]. These flats are not distributed evenly in the city, but affect certain areas more heavily (Plaka, Thisio, Koukaki, Exarcheia). In 2016, Koukaki featured as number 5 of Airbnb’s sixteen recommended neighbourhoods worldwide[2] causing residents to form an association in order to stop their displacement. A recent law has made attempts to regulate the development: limits to the rental period (max. 90 days a year); the prohibition to rent out more than one flat under the same tax number (and thus avoid businesses with multi-site rentals); and a progressive tax system for income from short-term rentals.

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CONFERENCE REPORT – ICOT2018, KAVALA, GREECE 27-30 JUNE

By No machine-readable author provided. Marsyas assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47021

by Dr. Heather Skinner

The 8th International Conference on Tourism (ICOT), jointly organised by IATOUR, the Technological Educational Institute of East Macedonia and Thrace, the Municipality of Kavala, and Middlesex University in the UK, and sponsored by Δημωφέλεια (Dimofeleia) was held in the beautiful city of Kavala on the Greek mainland 27th – 30th June 2018.

The theme for ICOT2018 was Emerging Tourism Destinations: Working Towards Balanced Tourism Development. This resulted in a really varied and interesting conference programme with almost 60 papers presented in a number of tracks including: Serviceology of Hospitality & Tourism; Cultural & Heritage Tourism; Place Image & Various Stakeholder Perceptions; Special Interest Tourism; Current Issues in Tourism; Expenditure and Consumption in Tourism; Tourism Demand; Sustainability; Tourism Development & Planning; Hospitality & Marketing; New Business Models & Digital Disruption in the Tourism Industry; along with many tourism case studies. Continue reading “CONFERENCE REPORT – ICOT2018, KAVALA, GREECE 27-30 JUNE”