Moreover, the tourism sector will face this health emergency even more strongly. For its own characteristics, it is linked to the movement and interaction between people, to the social dimension and the contact between people coming from nearby (domestic travel) but also from countries on the other side of the world. These aspects will force us to rethink the same concept of travelling. If we think, tourism is above all communication: it feeds on images, desires, emotions and, for sure, panic spread much faster than viruses.
Can the increase in international travel be considered part of the problem? Between 1950 and 2018 international arrivals grew by 5500%, generating economies that contribute 10.4% of global GDP and employ one in ten jobs on the planet. How will we move in the future?
The tourism sector includes many economic activities and is transversal to many objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda. Consequently, sustainable tourism (not only tourism) should play an important role in recovery efforts, and it should be included in economic recovery plans. Innovation potential and technologies should offer new solutions for emergencies prevention and crisis management.
Tourism has been considered a key-sector by many cities with urban regeneration and post-industrial reconversion needs. Urban tourism plays an important role for many destinations and concentrates the economic and people flows of broader regions.
For example, in the case of Turin, the city and its province receive almost half of the tourist flows of the region with 47.50% of arrivals and 48% of presences. From 2009 to 2018, regional flows have increased both in terms of arrivals (+ 36.44%) and presences (+ 30.25%) even if the relationship between Italians / Foreign travelers is stable over time at around 60-40% for arrivals and 56-44% for attendance.
It is not easy to predict what will happen in the future. Among the open questions two bounce in my mind. Will we opt for short-distance travel rather than long-haul international destinations? Will we still travel in cities, in large metropolises or would we prefer rural regions, small villages, less densely populated areas?
What is happening will make us rethink the way we live city-centers and suburbs, both inside the same city and in our globalized world, a unique one, in which we, hopefully, will continue to live.