Sanitation and hygiene as factors for choosing a place to stay: perceptions of the Bulgarian tourists

Nick Naumov, Desislava Varadzhakova, Alexander Naydenov

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

In December 2019, a relatively unknown disease was detected in the city of Wuhan, the capital of the Chinese Hubei province. Identified as a new respiratory virus and largely defined as a novel type of coronavirus (Huang et al., 2020), what is known as SARS-CoV-2 but commonly referred as COVID-19, has spread worldwide with unprecedented speed and infection rate. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency on 30 January 2020 which further escalated to a worldwide global pandemic declared on 11 March 2020. At the time of writing in mid-May 2020, around 4.5 million infections had been reported with nearly 300,000 cases with a fatal outcome (John Hopkins University, 2020). Although the world has previously been exposed to notable epidemics/pandemics such as Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Zika (Buheji & Ahmed, 2020), none of them has had such a notorious and holistic impact on the world’s economy and society. The OECD and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have already warned that the overall economic impact is expected to be substantially higher than the global financial crisis in 2008 (Hunt, 2020). The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hits by the disruption from the COVID-19 with the imposed restrictions on both international and domestic travel, and the immediate closure of hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions. According to UNWTO (2020), the industry is expected to decline by 20–30% with an anticipated loss of around 300 USD-450 billion. As WHO currently “does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available” (WHO, 2020), the tourism as we know it has disappeared and “overtourism” (Milano et al., 2019) has become “non-tourism at all”. As Niewiadomski (2020) points out, the world is now experiencing a “de-globalization” with around 90% of the world’s population subject to a certain level of travel restrictions, imposed home-stay lockdowns or arrival quarantines (Hall et al., 2020; Gössling et al., 2020). As Novelli et al. (2018) argue, there is a limited academic scholarship on health-related crisis and their impact on the tourism industry, particularly in the developing world. Despite the notable and timely appearance of many studies focused on COVID-19 and tourism, the majority of them are conceptual in nature and more focused on the “transformation” of tourism from a range of social science perspectives (see for example, Ateljevic, 2020; Brouder, 2020; Cheer, 2020; Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020; Nepal, 2020; Prideaux et al., 2020). Our paper focuses on another crucial dimension of the post-COVID-19 era – the importance of safety, sanitation and hygiene in the context of tourism and hospitality, and more specifically, sanitation measures as a decision-making factor for choosing an accommodation provider and willingness of the tourists to use their own sanitation products to ensure good personal hygiene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalAnatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality
Early online date23 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2020

Keywords

  • Tourism
  • COVID-19
  • Hospitality Business
  • Hospitality industry

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