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COVID-19: a pandemic to tourism guest-host relationship in India

COVID-19: a pandemic to tourism guest-host relationship in India The emerging situation of pandemic due to COVID-19 has not only influenced the daily life but also the society and travel activities around the world thereby depriving tourists (especially who are already on the move) of facilities and even making them to look for desperate alternatives. Such situation in fact may draw a long-term impact on guest–host relationship while residents’ behavior reflects hostility toward the tourists. Such kind of interactions contributes toward tourists’ perception and experience about the destination and its services thereby affecting their level of acceptance and tolerance for tour and travel activities (Armenski et al., 2011). Moreover, the guest–host relationship has mostly been studied with perspective of and focus on residents/host and not enough on tourists (Skipper, 2009; Vargas-Sánchez et al., 2014). Keeping this in view, this paper aims to analyze the impact of pandemic situation on guest–host relationship and its future impact on travel intentions among the tourists in India.Design/methodology/approachThe study undertakes the help of in-depth interviews and extracting themes to understand the guest–host relationship and the perspective of tourists in challenging times like COVID-19 and its impact on the relationship. The secondary sources have been adopted to retrieve the data related to current status of travel industry in India. In-depth interviews were conducted online to gather data for the qualitative analysis regarding the research. Further, the data has been analyzed for retrieving a dimensional approach to subject area.FindingsThe data from participant observation showed that the hosts displayed panic, mistrust and irresponsible behavior toward the guests, and this clearly indicates that the pandemic situation has a highly negative impact on the image of the community and the destination. This ultimately affects the guest–hosts relationships in the long term. Most of the tourists showed that they were okay with following the rules and respect local culture but were expecting support from local community during distress. It was found that there were two female tourists who were asked to vacate the accommodation, which can be considered as an inappropriate and extreme behavior. Thus, COVID-19 is not only causing a threat to the tourism presently but will have a prolonged influence on guest–host relationship as negative interaction or experiences are supposed to be frequently radiated by the tourists (de Albuquerque and McElroy, 2001).Originality/valueThere is no dearth of studies focusing on travel behavior dimensions, whereas the linkage of residents’ behavior toward it still requires much consideration and analyzing simultaneously. The study looks into the area of guest–host relationship and tries to explore it from the perspective and significance of tourist (guest) rather than the much read and researched resident (host) perception at the center. The findings of the study could be helpful in drawing the strategic framework for the industry to handle and sustain the guest–host relation so as to safeguard the future of tourism and sustain potential travel market reiterating the significance of tourists/guests and their perspective about the hosts, in developing and growing the tourism of a destination. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Tourism Cities Emerald Publishing

COVID-19: a pandemic to tourism guest-host relationship in India

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© International Tourism Studies Association.
ISSN
2056-5607
DOI
10.1108/ijtc-06-2020-0131
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The emerging situation of pandemic due to COVID-19 has not only influenced the daily life but also the society and travel activities around the world thereby depriving tourists (especially who are already on the move) of facilities and even making them to look for desperate alternatives. Such situation in fact may draw a long-term impact on guest–host relationship while residents’ behavior reflects hostility toward the tourists. Such kind of interactions contributes toward tourists’ perception and experience about the destination and its services thereby affecting their level of acceptance and tolerance for tour and travel activities (Armenski et al., 2011). Moreover, the guest–host relationship has mostly been studied with perspective of and focus on residents/host and not enough on tourists (Skipper, 2009; Vargas-Sánchez et al., 2014). Keeping this in view, this paper aims to analyze the impact of pandemic situation on guest–host relationship and its future impact on travel intentions among the tourists in India.Design/methodology/approachThe study undertakes the help of in-depth interviews and extracting themes to understand the guest–host relationship and the perspective of tourists in challenging times like COVID-19 and its impact on the relationship. The secondary sources have been adopted to retrieve the data related to current status of travel industry in India. In-depth interviews were conducted online to gather data for the qualitative analysis regarding the research. Further, the data has been analyzed for retrieving a dimensional approach to subject area.FindingsThe data from participant observation showed that the hosts displayed panic, mistrust and irresponsible behavior toward the guests, and this clearly indicates that the pandemic situation has a highly negative impact on the image of the community and the destination. This ultimately affects the guest–hosts relationships in the long term. Most of the tourists showed that they were okay with following the rules and respect local culture but were expecting support from local community during distress. It was found that there were two female tourists who were asked to vacate the accommodation, which can be considered as an inappropriate and extreme behavior. Thus, COVID-19 is not only causing a threat to the tourism presently but will have a prolonged influence on guest–host relationship as negative interaction or experiences are supposed to be frequently radiated by the tourists (de Albuquerque and McElroy, 2001).Originality/valueThere is no dearth of studies focusing on travel behavior dimensions, whereas the linkage of residents’ behavior toward it still requires much consideration and analyzing simultaneously. The study looks into the area of guest–host relationship and tries to explore it from the perspective and significance of tourist (guest) rather than the much read and researched resident (host) perception at the center. The findings of the study could be helpful in drawing the strategic framework for the industry to handle and sustain the guest–host relation so as to safeguard the future of tourism and sustain potential travel market reiterating the significance of tourists/guests and their perspective about the hosts, in developing and growing the tourism of a destination.

Journal

International Journal of Tourism CitiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 15, 2021

Keywords: Travel behavior; Intention to revisit; Guest–host relationship; Pandemic situations

References