THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON THE TOURISM SECTOR WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO MALAYSIA
The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus infection (COVID-19) has enormous economic consequences. It happened in the Wuhan city of China and rapidly spread across the world. While the Chinese economy has taken a major hit, the consequences extend far beyond the borders of China. Tourism is among the economic sectors that have been profoundly affected by the viral outbreak. Due to strong economic links with China, Malaysia has suffered enormous economic losses. Extended lockdowns, flight disruptions and other measures taken to contain the infection, and releasing stimulus packages have caused considerable downturn in the economic growth. A genesis of the pandemic origin and transmission is necessary not only to mitigate the prevailing situation but also preventing a repeat of such an event in the future. The coronavirus outbreak is a wake-up call for insulating the society and economy, especially the most vulnerable sectors. Although the outbreak happened in December 2019, it continues to inflict health hazards and economic meltdown. This should serve to demonstrate the significance of preventing the new infections without delay. It all started from the unregulated consumption of wildlife and the consequent setback to the natural ecosystem. Vulnerability of the tourism sector to pandemics is due to obvious reasons; people avoid visiting places in the grip of pandemic and tourism destinations close their doors to arrivals from the virus-affected countries. There is a need for international mechanisms for regulating the factors that lead to origin of the pandemic and applying available means for containing it should that happen. For the tourism, effective management strategies are necessary to insulate this industry. This paper highlights the causes of the pandemic to effectively link its consequences for the tourism sector while also discussing the need to support its revival. An important measure emphasized in in this paper as a revival strategy is building resilience in the natural capital. This systems approach is necessary in dealing with the post-COVID-19 scenario and in better preparedness for any future health hazards.