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We can understand Tourism Supply Chain (TSC) as an interdependent organisation creating relationships with different partakers in the industry, such as suppliers, hotels, excursions, governments, distributors, restaurants, bars, handicrafts shops, transportation firms, the Food Industry, museums, locally and in different destinations.

A cooperation industry like this, considered as a driver for management implementation, agility, and flexibility, represents a significant risk for the high level of interdependency on its SC.  Whenever a disruption occurs, it could become a fast agent of dispersion across the whole SC, originated from external factors like international conflict, terrorism, natural disasters, economic crisis, or an outbreak like the COVID-19 epidemic, declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on March 11, 2020.

Some unparalleled fast-changing impacts on the travel and tourism sector:

·       The World Health Organisation (WHO) authorities announced the pandemic on March 11, 2020.

·       Numerous governments decided to close their border.

·       They established a mandatory mass quarantine; consequently, TSCs activities experience a total economic disruption.

·       Countries’ borders were closed in European regions and many others like Canada that close province or even neighbourhoods.

·       Airport temporary shutdown in many countries; airlines drastically reduce their activities and even suspended them, estimating the fall in international traffic during 2020 of about 44 to 80%.

·       Tour operators decreased or stopped their operations since mid-March 2020 due to flight and roads closures.

·       For the hospitality industry, it meant meagre occupancy rates and even massive closures.

·       When countries depending on tourism could reopen, they closed once more their tourism services due to restriction up and downs during the first three weeks of June 2020.

·       It puts the tourism industry under exceptional tension, triggering a substantial drop in revenue and generating operational liquidity issues.

What comes next:

TSCs researchers are recently focusing on identifying crisis management to overcome disruption risks caused by the pandemic.

Experts propose managing this extreme risky crisis, providing the tourist with the best possible service to enhance the company’s reputation according to given circumstances.  They recommend coordination between two-party relationships as crucial management aspects, among others.  Disruption risks in TSCs are also an indicator of immediate-escalating disruption in demands and the SC.

·       To provide insight into how business purposes change when cost reduction and operational efficiency are under unfavourable circumstances.

·       To centre attention on labour relations, customer attraction, liquidity, international arrivals, reliance on tour operators, and the regulatory framework when economic disruptions arise.

·       To build relationships with significant shareholders within the TSC.

·       Interconnectivity could be a crucial element in the industry’s recovery to mitigate adverse outcomes affecting the economy.

·       To understand the relationship management role among hotel chains and their TSC agents.

·       To understand coordination as a decision-making strategy and each part performing accordingly.

·       There is a need for a theoretical model in TSCs management, especially during economic disruptions.

·       The identification of two-party relationships managed to focus not only on providing tourism services but on defeating economic disruptions.

·       The understanding of relationships within the SC.

·       To coordinate TSC agent in different areas such as Finance, Labour, supply, demands and regulation, to deal with complex economic disruptions.

Coordination calls each member operating in the SC to consider the effect of his/her doings on the other member.  It is necessary that developing a tourism organisation network involved in different activities, extending from the various supply elements of tourism products/services such as accommodation, transportation and flights, to the marketing and distribution of the final tourism product at a specific tourism destination, and engaging participants in both the private and public sectors.

Public support from governments is crucial to the growth of the tourism industry due to intervention in political and economic affairs.  During the early post-pandemic periods, it is essential to provide the liquidity necessary for the system to recover and avoid companies’ disappearance and economic collapse.

Conclusions: coordinate and cooperative relationships based on trust among stakeholders through a TSC will significantly enhance win-win processes to overcome uncertain environments.

Dave Food

M: +44 7775 861863


Photo credit: Elizeu Dias / Unsplash

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