Coastal Tourism Recovery amid COVID-19: Insights from a Participatory System Dynamics Approach

By Estee Vermeulen-Miltz, Jai Kumar Clifford-Holmes, Amanda Talita Lombard and Bernadette Snow

“This study aimed to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on coastal tourism in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), South Africa, and propose effective management interventions to enable swift recovery. A participatory system dynamics modelling approach was applied through a qualitative causal mapping processes to support a quantitative model.

Multiple stakeholder perspectives were incorporated to gain a holistic understanding of the local impacts. The study revealed that the effects of the pandemic on tourism in NMB were dynamic and accompanied by shifts in governance responses and traveller behaviour. Uncertainty surrounding the rate of recovery in different sectors was observed. Through collaboration with local stakeholders, recovery interventions were identified and tested according to short-to-long-term tourism needs in stages of recovery, revival and growth.

The findings highlight the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration in facilitating informed decision-making for sustainable tourism recovery. Moreover, it is encouraged that participatory, multi-stakeholder approaches are adopted to explore the impacts of exogenous factors on the tourism sector, such as those arising from public health, climate, and social–political change. This inclusive and dynamic approach can be used to develop management strategies that are responsive and adaptable to complex and evolving circumstances that can impact the tourism industry….”

Photo: Josh Hilde Unsplash

Related SDGs:

  • Climate action
  • Life below water