COVID-19: A stress test for sustainable development in hospitality?
— 22 experts shared their view
"Covid-19 is climate change on warp speed" (Wagner, Mar.10, 2020). The current pandemic has catastrophic consequences on the hospitality sector. The ways the industry currently deals with the crisis (for example, see: COVID-19 - Survival Guide for the Hospitality Industry) offers a glimpse into the crisis management endeavors in building a business case for disaster and climate resiliency. Climate emergency is not dissimilar to the coronavirus threat, whereby 'both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss" (Cobb, Mar. 12, 2020). However, with hotel companies facing an existential crisis, or large-scale downsizing, what will be left of the sustainability programs and initiatives once this pandemic is overcome? Will we be starting from scratch or is the coronavirus crisis the opportunity to implement a swift change in risk assessment and management facing the climate crisis? What are the key lessons from the coronavirus crisis on how to deal with the climate emergency?
Assistant Professor at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL)
In conjunction with the colossal economic impacts the pandemic will generate, there may also be socio-cultural alterations of how people perceive traveling. Among many questions that will be asked in the future, mine are more about perceptions; will 'cultural labeling' impact our perceptions of culturally different fellow visitors? Will a sort of social distancing become a universal norm to respect while visiting formerly crowded destinations, which will enhance strict carrying capacity measurements? Will tourism and tourists become more controlled and restricted? Although the global tourism industry will do its best to inspire people to return to former travel dynamics swiftly, after the pandemic disappears, I believe it will take a long time to stabilize a, hopefully, more responsible way of traveling.