Resilience and vulnerability in the tourism industry during a pandemic. A comparative study between Finland and Sweden on different geographical scales
In 2020 the Covid-19 virus spread rapidly and became a global pandemic. This had a severe impact on the tourism industry since travel was halted due to restrictions imposed to stop the pandemic. This makes it an essential geographical problem since tourism is about the movement of people in different environments. This study examines how tourism has been impacted in Finland and in Sweden by doing a comparative analysis. This because they are neighbouring countries who have had different strategies when it comes to managing Covid-19. The study also investigates how tourism in larger cities have been impacted compared to smaller cities. This will be done by performing interviews with people working in this industry as well as analysing relevant governmental reports. Due to the huge gap of knowledge surrounding the pandemic this thesis provides relevant issues to be studied. The results show that Sweden and Finland have been similarly affected by the pandemic with a sharp decline in overnight stays, almost no foreign tourists and businesses struggling to survive. Although the results show that Finland’s harsher strategy against the virus have kept the Covid-19 numbers relatively low, but instead have made the businesses in the tourism industry suffer more due to politics making it more difficult for them to seek aid. The results also show that the smaller cities have not suffered as much thanks to domestic tourists, with some businesses having their best year yet. However this likely only means the smaller cities are not winners but only less losers. Many businesses have been very creative in adapting their operations to the restrictions of the pandemic; however many are worried about the future and if the pandemic continues for longer. Although many businesses have managed to survive and proven to not be completely vulnerable, resilience is still something the industry needs to develop. In preparation for future crises businesses could improve cooperation with other businesses and organizations, build an economic buffer, as well as improve sustainability to become more resilient.