Within the March 2021 Special Edition of PARKS on “COVID-19 and Protected and Conserved Areas” is a paper written by several members of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist group on the impacts of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a global impact on the tourism sector. With tourism numbers dramatically reduced, millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back. Widespread reports of dramatic changes to protected and conserved area visitation have negative consequences for conservation finances, tourism businesses and the livelihoods of people who supply labour, goods and services to tourists and tourism businesses. This paper aims to share experiences from around the world on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on protected area tourism; and considers how to build resilience within protected area tourism as a regenerative conservation tool.
Key words: sustainable tourism, protected area, conserved areas, parks, COVID-19 pandemic, resilience, impacts, recovery