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The collapse of tourism and its impact on wildlife tourism destinations

Newsome, D. (2020) The collapse of tourism and its impact on wildlife tourism destinations. Journal of Tourism Futures, ahead-of-print .

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To evaluate some of the current discussion about the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on wildlife tourism destinations. There could be either positive and/or negative impacts and this viewpoint provides some reflection on what the future might hold for some if not many wildlife tourism destinations when the global tourism industry resumes.


A combination of tourism and environmental impact research studies and online resources are used to demonstrate the wildlife tourism-conservation nexus and provide a commentary regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the wildlife tourism system.


This paper provides a context and viewpoint on the possible implications of post COVID-19 reflection for wildlife tourism operations in the future.

Research limitations/implications

This viewpoint paper captures only a snapshot of rapidly emerging online perspectives but at the same time draws together relevant research that emphasises the importance of wildlife tourism.

Practical implications

This paper enables an appreciation of the implications of not reflecting on the way that tourism and the environment are currently/recently managed and funded. One possibility is that we could arrive at a different baseline that reflects degraded wildlife tourism conditions. If, in a post COVID-19 world, a new awareness of the vulnerability of species and the tourism upon which it is dependent arises, this could open the door for improved tourism management and conservation of species that are of high tourism value.

Social implications

This paper offers a synthesis of views that fosters understanding of the possibility of damage to wildlife tourism resources due to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on the global nature-based tourism sector.


The viewpoint proffered in this paper provides scope for a rapid evaluation of the current status of wildlife tourism, its vulnerability and the need to reflect on the industry in a post COVID-19 world.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright: © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited
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