Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Post-pandemic tourism strategies: A case of Himachal Pradesh

Mahfuzuar Rahman Barbhuiya, PhD


Tourism has always been a vulnerable industry. Minimal disturbances can halt or even destroy tourism and its associated economy. There is no dearth of research on vulnerability and resilience of the tourism industry for various tourism destinations,, and on post-disaster studies, but mainly these were limited to a city or tourist destination and focused on the destination image recovery. The primary purpose of this study is to identify different tourism stages and the local community’s issues and desires associated with each stage and to propose strategies that can be used during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The district-wise monthly domestic and foreign tourist arrival data from 2008 to 2018 for Himachal Pradesh (HP) were observed. The observations reveal that HP experiences overtourism, balanced tourism, and undertourism. Two hundred seven telephonic interviews were conducted with different stakeholders such as tourism department officers, urban planners, hotel owners and managers, environmentalists, and state residents. Research themes were identified based on the interview responses, and these themes were further validated using a review of newspaper reports and court and local administration order. This study identified nine broad problems and patterns associated with tourism and proposes 17 sustainable tourism strategies that the post-COVID-19 crisis can follow. The proposed strategies give special attention to confidence-building of tourist and residents, image building of the location, and increasing tourism number sustainably and tourism earning of the state. This study investigates problems and suggests sustainable strategies for a state in India for the first time and may be used for policy decision and regional sustainable tourism development plan.



overtourism, balanced tourism, undertourism, COVID-19, tourism strategies, resilience, India, Himachal Pradesh

Full Text:



United Nation World Tourism Organization: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer and Statistical Annex. 2020. DOI: 10.18111/wtobarometereng.

Cyriac PC: India Tourism Statistics at a Glance-2019. Delhi: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, 2019.

Gurtner Y: Returning to paradise: Investigating issues of tourism crisis and disaster recovery on the island of Bali. J Hosp Tour Manag. 2016; 28: 11-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhtm.2016.04.007.

Calgaro E, Lloyd K: Sun, sea, sand and tsunami: Examining disaster vulnerability in the tourism community of Khao Lak, Thailand. Singapore J Trop Geogr. 2008; 29(3): 288-306. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9493.2008.00335.x.

UNWTO: International tourist numbers could fall 60-80 percent in 2020, UNWTO Reports | UNWTO. UNWTO. 2020. Available at Accessed August 24, 2020.

Chauhan P: Tourism sector in Himachal bears the brunt: The Tribune India. The Tribune. 2020. Available at Accessed October 28, 2020.

Carballo RR, León CJ, Carballo MM: Fighting overtourism in Lanzarote (Spain). Worldw Hosp Tour Themes. 2019; 11(5): 506-515. DOI: 10.1108/WHATT-06-2019-0043.

Pinke-Sziva I, Smith M, Olt G, et al.: Overtourism and the nighttime economy: A case study of Budapest. Int J Tour Cities. 2019; 5(1): 1-16. DOI: 10.1108/IJTC-04-2018-0028.

Smith MK, Sziva IP, Olt G: Overtourism and resident resistance in Budapest. Tour Plann Dev. 2019. DOI: 10.1080/21568316.2019.1595705.

Namberger P, Jackisch S, Schmude J, et al.: Overcrowding, overtourism and local level disturbance: How much can Munich handle? Tour Plann Dev. 2019; 16: 452-472. DOI: 10.1080/21568316.2019.1595706.

Barbhuiya MR: Overtourism in Indian cities: A case study of Nainital. Int J Tour Cities. DOI: 10.1108/IJTC-08-2019-0148.

Kušcˇer K, Mihalicˇ T: Residents’ attitudes towards overtourism from the perspective of tourism impacts and cooperation—The case of Ljubljana. Sustainability (Switzerland). 2019; 11: 6. DOI: 10.3390/su10021823.

Trancoso González A: Venice: The problem of overtourism and the impact of cruises. Invest Region. 2018; 2018(42): 35-51.

Bušljeta Tonkovic´ A: (Un)sustainable (rural) tourism: A case study of Lika-Senj county. Soc Ekol. 2019; 28(3): 249-268. DOI: 10.17234/SocEkol.28.3.3.

Frey BS, Briviba A: Revived originals—A proposal to deal with cultural overtourism. Tour Econ. 2021; 27: 1221-1216. DOI: 10.1177/1354816620945407.

Gowreesunkar VG, Vo Thanh T: Between overtourism and undertourism: Impacts, implications, and probable solutions. In Séraphin H, Gladkikh T, Tan VT (eds.): Overtourism: Causes, Implications and Solutions. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020: 45-

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-42458-9_4.

Seraphin H, Ivanov S: Overtourism: A revenue management perspective. J Revenue Pricing Manag. 2020; 19(3): 146-150. DOI: 10.1057/s41272-020-00241-7.

Butler RW: Tourism carrying capacity research: A perspective article. Tour Rev. 2020; 75: 207-211. DOI: 10.1108/TR-05-2019-0194.

Castellani V, Sala S: Carrying capacity of tourism system: Assessment of environmental and management constraints towards sustainability. In Kasimoglu M (ed.): Visions for Global Tourism Industry-Creating and Sustaining Competitive Strategies. London: INTECH, 2012: 295-316.

Jurado EN, Damian IM, Ferna’ndez-Morales A: Carrying capacity model applied in coastal destinations. Ann Tour Res. 2013; 43: 1-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2013.03.005.

Mhanna R, Blake A, Jones I: Spreading tourists around host countries of mega sport events: A strategy to overcome overtourism in host cities. Worldw Hosp Tour Themes. 2019; 11(5): 611-626. DOI: 10.1108/WHATT-06-2019-0040.

Séraphin H, Gowreesunkar V, Zaman M, et al.: Limitations of trexit (tourism exit) as a solution to overtourism. Worldw Hosp Tour Themes. 2019; 11(5): 566-581. DOI: 10.1108/WHATT-06-2019-0037.

Directorate of Census Operations Himachal Pradesh: Himachal Pradesh District Census Handbook. 2011. Available at Accessed November 16, 2022.

HPTDC: HPTDC online hotel reservation system. 2020. Available at Accessed September 7, 2020.

Chandramouli C, General R: Census of India. Rural urban distribution of population, provisional population total. 2011. New Delhi, India: Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner.

Koh E, Fakfare P: Overcoming “over-tourism”: The closure of maya Bay. Int J Tour Cities. 2019; 6: 279-296. DOI: 10.1108/IJTC-02-2019-0023.

Butler RW: The concept of a tourist area cycle of evolution: Implications for management of resources. Can Geogr. 1980; 24(1): 5-12.

Koens K, Postma A, Papp B: Is overtourism overused? Understanding the impact of tourism in a city context. Sustainability. 2018; 10(12): 4384-4315. DOI: 10.3390/su10124384.

Seraphin H, Sheeran P, Pilato M: Over-tourism and the fall of Venice as a destination. J Dest Mark Manag. 2018; 9(January): 374-376. DOI: 10.1016/j.jdmm.2018.01.011.

Berno T, Bricker K: Sustainable tourism development: The long road from theory to practice. Int J Econ Dev. 2001; 3(3): 1-18.

Theobald WF: Global Tourism. 3rd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 2004.

Becken S, Mahon R, Rennie HG, et al.: The tourism disaster vulnerability framework: An application to tourism in small island destinations. Nat Hazards. 2014; 71: 955-972. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-013-0946-x.

Kurniawan F, Adrianto L, Bengen DG: Vulnerability assessment of small islands to tourism: The case of the marine tourism park of the Gili Matra islands, Indonesia. Glob Ecol Conserv. 2016; 6: 308-326. DOI: 10.1016/j.gecco.2016.04.001.

Tsao C, Ni C: Vulnerability, resilience, and the adaptive cycle in a crisis-prone tourism community. Tour Geogr. 2016; 18(1): 80-105. DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2015.1116600.

Orencio PM, Fujii M: A localized disaster-resilience index to assess coastal communities based on an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2013; 3(1): 62-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2012.11.006.

Sheppard VA, Williams PW: Factors that strengthen tourism resort resilience. J Hosp Tour Manag. 2016; 28: 20-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhtm.2016.04.006.

Singh-Peterson L, Salmon P, Goode N, et al.: Translation and evaluation of the baseline resilience indicators for communities on the sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2014; 10(PA): 116-126. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.07.004.

Faulkner B: Towards a framework for tourism disaster management. Tour Manag. 2001; 22: 135-147.

Malhotra R, Venkatesh U: Pre-crisis period planning: Lessons for hospitality and tourism. Worldw Hosp Tour Themes. 2009; 1(1): 66-74. DOI: 10.1108/17554210910949896.

Wang J, Ritchie BW: Understanding accommodation managers’ crisis planning intention: An application of the theory of planned behaviour. Tour Manag. 2012; 33(5): 1057-1067. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2011.12.006.

Henderson JC: Responding to natural disasters: Managing a hotel in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Tour Hosp Res. 2005; 6(1): 89-96. DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.thr.6040047.

Jamal T, Budke C: Tourism in a world with pandemics: Localglobal responsibility and action. J Tour Futures. 2020; 6(2): 181-188. DOI: 10.1108/JTF-02-2020-0014.

Novelli M, Gussing Burgess L, Jones A, et al.: No ebola…still doomed’—The Ebola-induced tourism crisis. Ann Tour Res. 2018; 70(March): 76-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2018.03.006.

Quarantelli EL: A selected annotated bibliography of social science studies on disasters. Am Behav Sci. 1970; 13(3): 452-456. DOI: 10.1177/000276427001300315.

Rittichainuwat BN: Tourists’ and tourism suppliers’ perceptions toward crisis management on tsunami. Tour Manag. 2013; 34: 112-121. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2012.03.018.

Lew AA: Scale, change and resilience in community tourism planning. Tour Geogr. 2014; 16(1): 14-22. DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2013.864325.

Glaesser D: Crisis Management in the Tourism Industry. 2nd ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006. DOI: 10.4324/9781315258881.

Henderson JC: Managing crises: UK civil aviation, BAA airports and the August 2006 terrorist threat. Tour Hosp Res. 2008; 8(2): 125-136. DOI: 10.1057/thr.2008.12.

Chew EYT, Jahari SA: Destination image as a mediator between perceived risks and revisit intention: A case of post-disaster Japan. Tour Manag. 2014; 40: 382-393.

Lee KH, Hyun SS: The effects of perceived destination ability and destination brand love on tourists’ loyalty to post-disaster tourism destinations: The case of Korean tourists to Japan. J Travel Tour Market. 2016; 33(5): 613-627. DOI: 10.1080/10548408.2016.1167349.

Séraphin H, Gowreesunkar VGB: Conclusion: What marketing strategy for destinations with a negative image? Worldw Hosp Tour Themes. 2017; 9(5): 570-576. DOI: 10.1108/WHATT-07-2017-0036.

Avraham E: Destination image repair during crisis: Attracting tourism during the Arab spring uprisings. Tourism Manag. 2015; 47: 224-232. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2014.10.003.

Ketter E: Destination image restoration on Facebook: The case study of Nepal’s Gurkha earthquake. J Hosp Tour Manag. 2016; 28: 66-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhtm.2016.02.003.

AlBattat AR, MatSom AP: Emergency planning and disaster recovery in Malaysian hospitality industry. Procedia-Soc Behav Sci. 2014; 144: 45-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.07.272.

Chan ESW, Lam D: Hotel safety and security systems: Bridging the gap between managers and guests. Int J Hosp Manag. 2013; 32(1): 202-216. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2012.05.010.

AlBattat AR, Mat Som AP: Emergency preparedness for disasters and crises in the hotel industry. SAGE Open. 2013; 3(3): 215824401350560. DOI: 10.1177/2158244013505604.

Paraskevas A, Arendell B: A strategic framework for terrorism prevention and mitigation in tourism destinations. Tour Manag. 2007; 28(6): 1560-1573. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2007.02.012.

Ritchie BW: Chaos, crises and disasters: A strategic approach to crisis management in the tourism industry. Tour Manag. 2004; 25(6): 669-683. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2003.09.004.

Becken S, Hughey KFD: Linking tourism into emergency management structures to enhance disaster risk reduction. Tour Manag. 2013; 36: 77-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2012.11.006.

Santana G: Crisis management and tourism: Beyond the rhetoric. J Travel Tour Market. 2004; 15(4): 299-321. DOI: 10.1300/J073v15n04.

Budeanu A, Miller G, Moscardo G, et al.: Sustainable tourism, progress, challenges and opportunities: An introduction. J Cleaner Prod. 2016; 111: 285-294. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.10.027.

Byrd ET: Stakeholders in sustainable tourism development and their roles: Applying stakeholder theory to sustainable tourism development. Tour Rev. 2007; 62(2): 6-13.

World Tourism Organization: Tourism for development (issue April). 2017. Available at Accessed October 6, 2020.

Garcia N, Doumet Y, Carreno L: Post-earthquake strategic tourism plan for the municipality of Bolívar, Manabí, Ecuador. GeoJ Tour Geosites. 2018; 23(3): 881. DOI: 10.30892/gtg.23322-336.

Pappas N: Hotel decision-making during multiple crises: A chaordic perspective. Tour Manag. 2018; 68: 450-464. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2018.04.009.

Mikulic’ J, Milicˇevic’ K, Krešic D: The relationship between brand strength and tourism intensity: Empirical evidence from the EU capital cities. Int J Cult Tour Hosp Res. 2016; 10(1): 14-23. DOI: 10.1108/IJCTHR-06-2015-0054.

Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation: Himachal Pradesh Global Investors Meet 2019: Home. 2019. Available at Accessed November 15, 2022.

Himachal Tourism: The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Policy. 2019. Available at Accessed November 15, 2022.

Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation: Final Estimate of Domestic and Foreign Tourist Arrival. 2020. Available at Accessed November 15, 2022.

Kaur A, Chauhan A, Medury Y: Destination image of Indian tourism destinations: An evaluation using correspondence analysis. Asia Pacific J Market Logist. 2016; 28(3): 499-524. DOI: 10.1108/APJML-05-2015-0074.

HPTDC: FAQs | Shimla District, Government of Himachal Pradesh | India. Himachal Pradesh Tourism. 2019. Available at Accessed July 29, 2020.

Kapri A, Chaunsali PK, Kaushik S: Water crisis in the hill cities of Western Himalayas: A startling reality. Int Res J Pure Appl Chem. 2020; 21(16): 1-6. DOI: 10.9734/irjpac/2020/v21i1630254.

Widz M, Brzezin´ska-Wójcik T: Assessment of the overtourism phenomenon risk in Tunisia in relation to the tourism area life cycle concept. Sustainability. 2020; 12(5): 2004-2013. DOI: 10.3390/su12052004.

Badar RN, Bahadure SP: Assessing tourism sustainability in hill towns: Case study of Shimla, India. J Mt Sci. 2020; 17(9): 2241-2261. DOI: 10.1007/s11629-019-5683-5.

Awasthi V, Parmar JS, Chauhan NS: Tourist inflow in Himachal Pradesh—An overview. Polit Econ J India. 2017; 26(1): 1-6.

Division F: Protected and restricted areas. Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India. 2013. Available at Accessed October 15, 2020.

ANI: Himachal Pradesh celebrates Kinnaur festival. Business Standard News. 2017. Available at Accessed October 18, 2020.

Bodh VK, Mehta S: Rohtang tunnel and its consequences in Lahaul and Spiti. Econ Polit Weekly. 2018; 53(20): 61-67.

Agnihotri A, Bhattacharya S: Endorsement effectiveness of celebrities versus social media influencers in the materialistic cultural environment of India. J Int Consumer Market. 2021; 33: 280-223. DOI: 10.1080/08961530.2020.1786875.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Journal of Emergency Management