International Tourism and Outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Cross-Country Analysis

Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, Hassan F. Gholipour, Mehdi Feizi, Robin Nunkoo, Amir Eslami Andargoli

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

232 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the relationship between international tourism and COVID-19 cases and associated deaths in more than 90 nations. We use a cross-country regression analysis and find a positive correlation between international tourism and the cumulated level of COVID-19 confirmed cases and death by April 30, 2020. Our regression analyses show that countries exposed to high flows of international tourism are more prone to cases and deaths caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. This association is robust even after controlling for other socioeconomic determinants of COVID-19 outbreak and regional dummies. Based on our estimations, a 1% higher level of inbound and outbound tourism is associated with 1.2% and 1.4% higher levels of confirmed COVID-19 cases and death, respectively, controlling for other factors. When we normalize the number of cases and death by size of population, the statistical significance remains robust, especially for the COVID-19 deaths, while the effect size reduces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • coronavirus
  • cross-country regression
  • global tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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