Chinese by nature are a bunch of curious folks. They often indulge in the extraordinary and seek out the impossible. Whether it is their mouthwatering Chinese cuisine or the art of using distinctive organisms on their palate. Or their curiosity and enthusiasm to explore, a testament of which is the fact that they constitute the most number of tourists globally.
Sadly, the Chinese or China specifically despite their awesomeness are the trending topic as per the Google Trends. And all because of the coronavirus, which has managed to take not only China but most of Asia by storm. So, what has it been like before and after the coronavirus or the Covid-19 epidemic outbreak? What has been the impact of coronavirus on Asia tourism statistics 2020 and the rest of the world?
Impact of Coronavirus on China and the rest of the world: Before & After
Day after day the number of coronavirus cases are increasing. While it all started at Wuhan they say, it quickly spread through the whole of China. However, it did not stop there; Vietnam, Hong Kong, Bali, Italy, were soon engrossed too; which caused a major drop in the tourism sector globally.
Although the after-effects of the coronavirus remain to be seen, here is a forecast of the Asia tourism 2020. This report is based on the previous statistics compared with the data collected in the Q1 of 2020 (Feb 2020)
The onset of coronavirus in China
While nobody knows where or when the virus manifested, but the many cases of pneumonia alerted by the Chinese government led to many speculations. However, the cause was soon discovered to be the coronavirus, a strain of the SARS virus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome), thus also referred to as the SARS Coronavirus 2. And, thus it off-set the worldwide panic accompanied by myths and assumed cures. Whether the cure is established or not, there are still standard preventive measures, which were implemented by the different governments worldwide.
One such measure was the temporary suspension of trade relationships with the Chinese. While the present scenario calls for it, it is also certain to directly have an effect on the global economy by the first half of 2020.
Within a month, coronavirus changed the plans of millions of tourists who had to cancel their plans of visiting Mainland China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, to name a few.
Although many thought that coronavirus was a thing in Asia and limited to Asia, they were taken by surprise with the impact of coronavirus on Italy tourism 2020. The tourist hot spots remaining deserted and individuals surviving on income generated by tourist visitors have taken a major hit.
In the picture, Venice, a hub for the romantic Gondola ride stands still with the lack of tourists and the ticking numbers of coronavirus victims.
The Impact of Coronavirus on Italy Tourism 2020
The country with the most number of reported Covid-19 cases after China is not an Asian country but a popular Schengen country, Italy.
When I say the global tourism statistics will take a downturn plunge of 50%, I have valid reasons to believe so. While it may not necessarily drop to 50%, but the ongoing threat may certainly present such possibilities.
As most of the popular tourist destinations in Italy are almost empty, the conditions are not likely to improve even in the Q2 of 2020. Here are a few instances to support the claim. While these places certainly bustle with tourists, the beginning of Q1 2020 supports otherwise.
The coronavirus has managed to ensnare even the Holy City of Vatican. While the decrease in the number of tourists to the Vatican may not be as high as that of Italy, tourists are still sceptical.
Even the hail and the heartily healthy folks with a strong immunity* have developed a fear of the Covid-19 disease. A statement was released by WHO claiming the coronavirus induced devastation in China was just a tip of the iceberg.
After, which the domestic tourism statistics globally suggests a 15% drop even where the countries not affected by the virus are concerned.
Note*: So far the victims have been reported to have a lower immunity rate or a weaker immune system as per research.
Asian Countries Affected by Coronavirus Epidemic
Asia is on the verge of being stigmatised as a precursor of the viral outbreak. Most of the other widely tourist destinations now remain almost empty. In fact, in most of the once crowded venues, only a handful of tourists are seen.
Train cars travel empty, and the ever-crowded Disneylands of not only Shanghai but Hong Kong as well. In fact, Disneyland, Hong Kong is believed to be one of the quarantine centres.
Beijing, home to fascinating temples and palaces also witnesses a handful of tourists in the Q1 of 2020. What would be the tourist numbers in the Q2 2020, remains to be seen.
The irony of the Forbidden City, Beijing literally lacking the tourist influx in the first quarter of 2020.
India tourism may thrive in 2020 due to the least coronavirus impact
Donald Trump’s visit to India recently has shone India favourably as an oriental holiday destination. While the rest of the world is still debating whether to risk it or not, the foreign tourist arrivals to India has shown no major change when compared to the previous year.
This again is a surprising discovery considering the fact China is one of India’s neighbouring countries. India is one of the very few countries which solely relies on China for imports. This could be one of the reasons why this colourfully diverse country may become a popular holiday destination giving Singapore a run for its money in the Q2 2020.
Refer to the Foreign Tourist Arrivals to India in the month of January 2020 (source: Govt of India)
It is just a speculation that as one of the least affected countries like India and Dubai may witness a huge influx of tourists in the holiday months of the Q2 2020.
However. The Indian government has temporarily suspended the India Visa on Arrival and India e-visa facility. While these may concern the previously eligible countries, which now must get a visa to India the regular way through their nearest Indian Embassy.
Indians visiting Dubai as it is one of the least coronavirus affected countries
This is, in fact, a likely possibility where not only Indians but the rest of the world may explore more of Dubai during the holidays of the Q2 2020. Meanwhile, the nationals of the affected nations like China, South Korea, Hong Kong, are retained in their respective home counties with strict quarantine implementation for the affected.
Although the other non-affected tourist destinations are safe to travel, there may be a probable ban or restricted entries. Especially for the residents of the coronavirus affected Asian countries like China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.
The impact of coronavirus on the global economy
China is a major supplier of raw materials around the world. With most of the Chinese residents preferring to work from home, the Chinese market was believed to have taken a downward turn in the first half of January 2020. In fact, the country had claimed a 5% drop in its GDP.
While the precautions are in place to prevent the further spreading of the virus, the residents are apprehensive with the number of folks subjected to quarantine ever grows in China.
With strict measures in place, the manufacturers of safety masks, sanitizers, disinfectants, to name a few are in high demand. In fact, experts speculate that it is now the time for these industries to make the most of this scenario.
A typical mask, which costs INR 50 is now sold for INR 500. Pharmacies are running out of sanitizers. All because of the chaos caused by a single strain of the virus. And, although the coronavirus has a mortality rate far below that of the MERS and ebola, the panic it has stirred is way beyond.
While the global economy has certainly faced an impact due to the coronavirus, the after-effects may persist in the second and third quarter of 2020. Let’s hope and pray the threat would pass away soon enough and the world would once again be a safe and beautiful place to embark.