27 October 2020

How has COVID-19 reshaped the travel industry for travellers and operators, and what can be done to ensure its future success?

As we closed borders, cancelled events and self-quarantined at home on a mass scale, the travel industry, as well as many other sectors, began to nosedive. However, even with our focus shifting to navigating through this global health crisis, the desire to travel has remained.

With the holiday season upon us and our borders slowly reopening, the way in which we socialise and holiday has changed. But, how long will this continue, and what can be done to ensure the survival of the tourism industry that has already seen a decrease in $80 billion (USD) in export revenues from international tourism globally?

Travel now looks and feels very different as we turn to local and regional holidays with modified and unique experiences to accommodate our need for safety. Some of these changes may be temporary, but others are here to stay and will redefine the way we practice and experience tourism for years to come.

We invite you to join our panel of research and industry experts as they explore the impacts of COVID-19 on the travel industry. They will address what changes tourism operators will have to make to remain viable in a pandemic, and what we have learned so that we can adapt should we face a pandemic again.

Meet your moderator and panelists


Professor Andrew Beer – Moderator

Professor Andrew Beer is the Executive Dean of UniSA Business at the University of South Australia. He has taught and undertaken research in the business sector for almost 30 years. His research interests include the operation and functioning of Australia’s housing markets (including the provision of housing for persons with a disability), the drivers of regional growth, structural change within the economy and the impacts of an ageing population. Currently he is collaborating with Professor Markku Sotarauta of Tampere University, Finland as a joint editor on the Handbook of City and Regional Leadership (Edward Elgar). More recently, Professor Beer has contributed to UniSA’s Enterprise Magazine, writing about the impact of the pandemic on the commercial property market. Read article here.


Professor Marianna Sigala – Panelist

Professor Marianna Sigala is Professor in Tourism and Director of the Centre of Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM) at UniSA Business at the University of South Australia. She is known worldwide for her research in tourism technologies and experience management. In 2016, Professor Sigala was awarded the prestigious EuroCHRIE Presidents’ Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements to tourism and hospitality education. She currently serves on the executive board of the Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) and was awarded Research Fellow status and membership of the Council in 2020. Professor Sigala has written recently about the future of tourism in a post-pandemic world in UniSA’s Enterprise Magazine. Read article here.


Dr Ben Stubbs – Panelist

Dr Ben Stubbs is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of South Australia and a former travel and features journalist. He has written for the New York TimesThe GuardianSydney Morning Herald, Australian Geographic and the Toronto Star among others. He has also written three books exploring travel and travel writing from different perspectives. His latest book, The Crow Eaters is an immersive look at the stories and people of South Australia, published by the University of New South Wales Press in August 2019. Dr Stubbs’ current academic research focuses on exploring the plurality of the travel writing form and the idea of vertical travel theory. 


Dennis Bunnik – Panelist

Dennis Bunnik is chairman of the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), which is a trade association representing the Australian travel industry. He is also joint CEO of Bunnik Tours an award-winning South Australian Tour Operator business and has extensive experience within the travel industry in London and Australia. He is an avid traveler and shares his love of flying via his YouTube channel DennisBunnik Travels.