Future Scenarios of Urban Tourism in the Post COVID-19 Era from the Perspective of Experts the Case Study of Sareyn City

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Public Administration and Tourism, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran


The COVID-19 pandemic created significant challenges for urban tourism, and its negative consequences caused countries to seek effective measures for the post-disease period. One of the most important of them is scenario planning; the main purpose of this research is to compile the future scenarios of urban tourism in the post-corona era, which was done with a focus on Sareyn. The research method is combined or mixed, which is carried out using a sequential exploratory approach in two qualitative-quantitative phases. The methods used in this research are "theme analysis and scenario planning." The statistical population of the research includes a multi-core team of experts in urban tourism, urban management, geography, public administration, and public health, who are also familiar with the conditions and status of Sareyn. These people are identified through the purposeful sampling method. According to the findings of the research, in the first phase, which was carried out using the theme analysis method, the themes extracted from the semi-structured interviews are in the form of 39 basic themes, 14 organizing themes, and 3 inclusive themes, which will go to the next stage to identify the drivers. Based on the findings of the quantitative phase of the research, four scenarios were identified, which are the reduction of restrictions and smart health screening, health tourism (treatment), green zoning, and mandatory lockdown. According to the results, the scenarios of "reducing restrictions and smart health screening - health tourism (treatment)" are, respectively, the most favorable and relatively favorable, and "green zoning - forced lock" scenarios are categorized as relatively unfavorable and most unfavorable situations. By adopting the relevant scenarios and properly managing urban tourism and its consequences, the post-disease period can also be considered an opportunity for urban tourism that brings new and desirable solutions to the fore
Extended Abstract
The tourism industry was one of the world's most significant markets until the world met a pandemic in the 21st century, COVID-19. The fear of COVID-19 led to significant uncertainty and chaotic conditions in many industries. The tourism industry has experienced sharply falling revenues and is an economic sector most severely affected by the pandemic. The shock affects both the demand side (restrictions on freedom of movement, border closings, guests' fear of infection) and the supply side (closure of accommodation and catering establishments and leisure facilities used for tourism). Urban tourism is one of the most essential areas affected in this field. The epidemic's effects can be effectively seen in domestic tourism, urban tourism, business travel, etc. For this reason, it is necessary to make expert forecasts and estimates in this regard. This study aims to formulate future urban tourism scenarios in the post COVID-19 era from the perspective of experts in Sareyn.
The outline of the research in this research is mixed or combined according to the purpose of its type. The sequential research approach is exploratory and done in two qualitative-quantitative phases. In this design, first qualitative and then quantitative data are collected and analyzed. Priority is usually given to the qualitative phase, and quantitative data are used to reinforce qualitative data. Two methods of “thematic analysis-scenario planning” have been used in this research. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative data is gathered through semi-structured interviews, while quantitative data is collected via a questionnaire. In the qualitative phase, related themes are extracted using interviews with experts and then considered as organizing themes for scenario planning. It should be noted that the basis for selecting research experts is their scientific and executive background in urban tourism, which were identified and studied using purposive sampling.
Results and discussion
According to the first (phase qualitative) findings, 39 basic themes, 14 organizing themes, and 3 global themes were identified. Finally, 14 organizing themes were considered as the final drivers. Then, according to experts, each of them was classified into influential variables, relay variables, affective variables, independent variables, and regulatory variables. Four scenarios were developed as "Reduction of restrictions and smart health screening, green zoning, health tourism (treatment), lockdown." The two uncertainties that will shape the axes of the scenarios are uncertainty 1 (situation of the corona in the city) and uncertainty 5 (situation of the corona constraints). Based on these two factors, the status of each scenario will be determined. These are considered in the context of future scenarios of sareyn urban tourism in the post COVID-19 era.
As we have seen in the last two years, COVID-19 has been able to affect the whole world with its risks and consequences. Urban tourism is one of the areas that has not been safe from this epidemic and has been subject to many changes and risks. Many studies have shown that the Covid-19 pandemic has provided important lessons for urban tourism decision-makers. Given that the background of some studies was somewhat similar to the present study, we can refer to the common chapter of this study with their results and findings that efforts have been made to reduce the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during the outbreak. Moreover, after or post-corona, most of which benefit urban and local tourism. Some related studies consider this crisis as an opportunity for urban tourism, which can be brought to the fore by scenarios and the application of new solutions. In this study, through combined methodological steps, four scenarios for urban tourism in the COVID-19 period in Sareyn were adopted, each of which considers different situations from the most unfavorable to the most desirable. It is concluded that the scenarios of "reduction of restrictions and smart health screening - health tourism (treatment)" are the most desirable and relatively desirable components, respectively, and the "green zoning – lock down" scenarios are classified as relatively unfavorable and the most unfavorable situation. In order to manage urban tourism in the post COVID-19 era and create favorable opportunities, it is necessary to make a feasibility study or a general estimate of its future trends to create a safe and healthy tourist destination. In order to reduce the risk of urban tourist travel, the inclusion of health and protection of tourists and local people has been done, and the resulting risks have been minimized.
There is no funding support.
Authors Contribution
The authors contributed equally to the conceptualization and writing of the article. All of the authors approved the content of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
The Authors declared no conflict of interest.
The authors appreciate to all the scientific consultants of this paper.


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