COVID-19: potential effects on Chinese citizens’ lifestyle and travel
School of Business and Law
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is projected to have adverse consequences on the global tourism and hospitality industry. This paper aims to examine how the outbreak may alter Chinese tourists’ lifestyle choices, travel behaviour and tourism preferences in the short and long term. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on the synthesis of news broadcasted by several media outlets to be supported by an overview of the related literature on tourism marketing, tourism management and tourist behaviour. The authors’ experiences investigating trends in tourism and hospitality at the local and international level have also contributed to the study. Findings: This paper predicts that COVID-19 will likely affect Chinese travellers’ consumption patterns, such as the growing popularity of free and independent travel, luxury trips and health and wellness tourism. New forms of tourism including slow tourism and smart tourism may also drive future tourism activities. Such changes are likely to force businesses to reconsider their service designs and distribution channels. Research limitations/implications: While Chinese and other potential visitors rethink how they travel, professionals, too, should reflect upon how to bring positive or negative changes to the tourism industry following this pandemic. Subsequent research should also consider how to mitigate the effects of similar public health crises in the future. Practical implications: Recommendations for industry practitioners and policymakers focus on tailoring travel arrangements to tourists’ backgrounds. The suggestions may help to alleviate outbreak-related stress, offer travellers newly enriching experiences and partially mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism and hospitality industry. These recommendations can also apply more broadly to global tourist markets. Social implications: The COVID-19 outbreak has already brought significant impacts to nearly every society and industry. Tourism scholars and practitioners should carefully consider this tragedy and how it may inform industry and social practices. This and other public health crises represent sterling opportunities to view the industry holistically in terms of its effects on the environment, climate and travellers themselves. Originality/value: This paper presumably represents a frontier study, critically examining the possible impacts of COVID-19 on Chinese travellers’ consumption patterns and how the tourism and hospitality industry may respond to such changes in the future.