Visitor Arrivals Forecasts amid COVID-19: A Perspective from the Africa Team

By | July 9, 2021

Nikolaos Kourentzes, Andrea Saayman, Philippe Jean-Pierre, Davide Provenzano, Mondher Sahli, Neelu Seetaram, and Serena Volo, 2021, Annals of Tourism Research 88: 103197.

COVID-19 disrupted international tourism worldwide, subsequently presenting forecasters with a challenging conundrum. In this competition, we predict international arrivals for 20 destinations in two phases: (i) Ex post forecasts pre-COVID; (ii) Ex ante forecasts during and after the pandemic up to end 2021. Our results show that univariate combined with cross-sectional hierarchical forecasting techniques (THieF-ETS) outperform multivariate models pre-COVID. Scenarios were developed based on judgemental adjustment of the THieF-ETS baseline forecasts. Analysts provided a regional view on the most likely path to normal, based on country-specific regulations, macroeconomic conditions, seasonal factors and vaccine development. Results show an average recovery of 58% compared to 2019 tourist arrivals in the 20 destinations under the medium scenario; severe, it is 34% and mild, 80%.

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