Conflict and chaos: a case study of Ireland's Covid-19 outbound travel market
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During the COVID-19 pandemic the international outbound travel market from Ireland collapsed, declining at one point by 94%. This case study paper explores the environment which framed the collapse in travel, positioning it as one of conflict and chaos. The main objective is to document and analyse the legal, industry and societal factors which may have contributed to the collapse, identifying the key regulations, decisions, metrics, and societal responses, and exploring their intersection with outbound tourism. Three areas of inquiry are explored, namely: 1) the legal instruments used by government to restrict travel, 2) operational decisions made by industry, and 3) societal and media response to the pandemic. Three findings are presented from the desk research. First, it is suggested that the conflicting agendas of government and public health, the mainstream media and the travel industry would be more effectively dealt with in private as opposed to via news articles, social media arguments, and openly published letters. Second, clarity of communication from all three bodies needs improvement due to its impact on consumer confidence. Finally, the article proposes lessons for government in relation to future crisis management situations regarding outbound travel.
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