SARAH SHARPE WRITES — Will the Asian tourism business ever fully recover from the coronavirus?

A recent article in The Guardian, the brilliant London-based dally newspaper, details the effects that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on popular tourism sites, with pictures of popular Asian before and after sites: before the outbreak, filled with travelers before,  and after, nearly empty.

Xenophobia and generalized fear may influence the recovery of tourism in Asia. Racism has factored into the global reaction to the coronavirus. Fear of contracting it has moved some to, unfortunately, act out against Asians both verbally and physically.

One example is a group of students in Belgium dressing up in traditional Chinese clothing, wearing medical masks, and holding up a sign stating “Corona time.” Another incident occurred in London, where a 23 -year-old Chinese man was allegedly attacked by a group of four men who told him, “We don’t want your coronavirus in our country.”

The knee-jerk association of the coronavirus with the Chinese population is arguably accurate to a certain extent, as the initial outbreak did in fact begin in Wuhan, China. Still, atrocious acts of bigotry are unforgivable; and they have the potential to impact how people will feel about travelling to Asia even after the World Health Organization declares it completely safe to travel to the area. How very sad.


FIONNA ANGELICA WIJAYA WRITES- Coronavirus has significantly affected Beijing’s small businesses, further slowing the Chinese economy in the past few weeks. Many busy shopping outlets have been closed, and the usually populated streets are almost empty. This makes every individual wonder about the survival of small businesses in Beijing.

The coronavirus epidemic has hurt not just a significant number of companies in China but in  other parts of the world that rely on Chinese industries for raw materials. While death and infection cases have been reported in China, what about the remaining population? People have to lead  “normal” lives and the need to survive is directly associated with access to basic needs, especially food. A proper diet or nutrition is one element that promotes health and reduces the high risk of other infections, not to mention starvation.

Yet although coronavirus has disrupted the food businesses and bigger companies in Beijing, they nevertheless may well survive. Food businesses serve both Beijing and non-Beijing customers through open and retail restaurants. Closing those avenues for business doesn’t mean no business. For example, a restaurant operator in Beijing, in an interview with BBC’s Stephen McDonnel, says that “there’s been a little impact; I’m not saying no impact. You can’t come in, but we have a takeaway.” Delivery and takeaway services are safer than letting customers walk in and out.

It seems that China is bringing the coronavirus situation under control. Cases of infection and death are falling dramatically, especially in the outbreak center, Wuhan. That it is still tragic; but it’s also a sign of progress.



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