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Post-COVID 19 Tourism: Will Digital Tourism Replace Mass Tourism?


  • Nadeem Akhtar

    (School of Urban Culture, Nanhai Campus, South China Normal University, Foshan 528225, China)

  • Nohman Khan

    (UniKL Business School, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur 50300, Malaysia)

  • Muhammad Mahroof Khan

    (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Kotli Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Kotli 11100, Pakistan)

  • Shagufta Ashraf

    (Banking and Finance, University of Kotli Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, Kotli, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 11100, Pakistan)

  • Muhammad Saim Hashmi

    (Department of Economics, Mirpur University of Sciences & Technology, Mirpur Azad Kashmir 10250, Pakistan)

  • Muhammad Muddassar Khan

    (Management Sciences, Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, Havelian 22000, Pakistan)

  • Sanil S. Hishan

    (Azman Hashim International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Skudai 81300, Malaysia)


Recently, nations are struggling to mitigate the impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak on their economy. Many countries have imposed traveling restrictions to reduce people’s movement in order to avoid infection transmission. Traveling restrictions have jeopardized the tourism industry around the globe. If the situation persists, it will become challenging for the nations to open tourism. For this reason, the digitalization of tourism is a viable solution for this situation. However, it is essential to map whether digital technologies can provide alternative solutions to the situation and whether digital tourism can replace conventional tourism? With that backdrop, this study has two objectives: (a) to find the future of digital tourism development beyond the COVID-19 pandemic situation, and (b) to find collaborative research work among nations to develop digital tourism after the current pandemic crisis. To achieve these objectives, we conducted a systematic literature review of past research on the development of digital tourism from 2016–2020. The study applies the PRISMA-2015 statement to select and synthesize 60 articles from Scopus and ‘Web of Science’ databases. Content analysis was performed to analyze the underlying clusters of research on digital tourism and, later, bibliometric analysis was conducted to examine collaborative research between different countries. The findings highlighted three major research clusters namely; virtual reality tourism, virtual tourism, and augmented reality. In addition, the research finding shows that virtual tourism is a practical and valuable option for mass tourism during the COVID-19 outbreak and can replace mass tourism after the pandemic. Although virtual tourism does not feel like a visit to a natural destination, it is still getting attention from tourists. Virtual spaces must develop more features and value additions to achieve tourist satisfaction in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Nadeem Akhtar & Nohman Khan & Muhammad Mahroof Khan & Shagufta Ashraf & Muhammad Saim Hashmi & Muhammad Muddassar Khan & Sanil S. Hishan, 2021. "Post-COVID 19 Tourism: Will Digital Tourism Replace Mass Tourism?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(10), pages 1-18, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:13:y:2021:i:10:p:5352-:d:552118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Muhammad Imran Qureshi & Nohman Khan & Shazia Qayyum & Subha Malik & Sanil S Hishan & Thurasamy Ramayah, 2020. "Classifications of Sustainable Manufacturing Practices in ASEAN Region: A Systematic Review and Bibliometric Analysis of the Past Decade of Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(21), pages 1-19, October.
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    1. Hanna Górska-Warsewicz & Maciej Dębski & Michal Fabuš & Marián Kováč, 2021. "Green Brand Equity—Empirical Experience from a Systematic Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(20), pages 1-34, October.

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