Countries all over the world continue to suffer the negative consequences related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. It continues to spread in countries around the world since it first emerged in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019 [1
], and the declaration of the World Health Organization (WHO), 26 January 2020, on the high risk of the epidemic in China and in the whole world [2
]. Citizens continued to travel from high-risk areas and were able to freely cross major airports without medical examinations. Aviation services operated for more than a month after the rapid spread of COVID-19 with minimum health control at international borders [3
The number of people testing positive continued to increase until 9 August 2020, and it had reached 19,462,112 in many countries, which also recorded 722,285 deaths [4
]. Preventive measures related to social distancing and the application of total or partial confinement were applied in several countries. This was after the release of the report of the National Health Commission of China, which indicated on 27 January 2020 that the people carrying the virus can infect others through respiratory droplets as well as through direct contact [1
]. In addition, some patients with COVID-19 without fever or radiological abnormalities have complicated the diagnosis and made social interactions very dangerous. This implies that individual behavior is crucial in controlling the spread of COVID-19 [6
]. This situation caused the closure of many schools during March 2020. The United Nations scientific and cultural organization estimated that 107 countries had closed national schools, targeting 862 million children and young people, i.e., half of the global student population. This number subsequently increased and other institutions had the same fate, which forced the introduction of telework [8
Consequently, imposed confinement led to an increase in fear and anxiety, the emergence of behavioral disturbances, and other important psychological and psychiatric impacts. With the loss of freedom due to imprisonment, people became separated from their loved ones, without neglecting the negative effects on many economic sectors that extend over many years [10
]. This can harm the stability and development of countries. Indeed, the industrial production fell in China due to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic by around 13.5%, retail sales fell by 21%, and some sectors almost collapsed [15
]. Even if the world has experienced a number of epidemics over the past 40 years, none have had similar implications for the global economy as the COVID-19 pandemic [16
]. Many countries found themselves in a difficult situation, and this prompted the World Bank group to devote up to $
160 billion for actions to help more than 100 countries during the next 15 months, in order to recover their economy [17
]. According to the evaluation of the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures (OFCE) in April 2020, world GDP fell by 19% while world trade fell by 25%. Globally, the added value of the accommodation and food services sector was the most affected and is said to have fallen by 47% [18
Subsequently, these negative impacts on the world economy forced many countries to start thinking about effective gradual exit strategies to return to normal life, in order to revive trade and the economy. The populations, for their part, also needed to regain their freedom, change their surroundings, relax and get out of the lifestyle imposed inside their homes, knowing that on a psychosocial level, leisure is essential for psychological balance [19
]. It is thus noted that the strategies for exiting containment following COVID-19 have experienced difficulties when meeting the needs of the populations on vacation and tourism at this time of the year, and the tourism sector was completely at a standstill in many countries around the world. About 1.5 billion tourists travel internationally each year and this can be an effective means of spreading a virus [20
]. As a result of this situation, tourists found it difficult to travel and to benefit from their travel rights and the services of hotel and tourist operators [21
]. As part of this, estimates from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in May 2020 said that international tourist arrivals were expected to drop by 78%, thus causing a loss of US $
1.2 trillion in revenue and 120 million cutbacks in direct jobs in tourism [22
]. However, data from the (UNWTO) Barometer for July 2020 indicated a sharp drop, since the impact of the confinement imposed following the pandemic led to a 98% drop in the number of international tourists in May 2020 compared to 2019 [23
]. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), international tourism in 2020 would see a decline of 60%. It could reach 80% if the recovery does not take place until December [24
]. The resumption of activity in the tourism sector requires the monitoring of prevention protocols specific to each country. This pandemic, which has caused a significant drop in tourist arrivals from China to the United States and Australia, has shown that it will take nearly a year and six months for arrivals to return respectively to their previous trend values, which could have devastating effects on the tourism industry [25
Algeria, this North African country which has also been affected by this pandemic in several economic sectors, has recorded, since the appearance of the virus in the country, 34,214 infected people and 1302 deaths by COVID-19 to 9 August 2020 [26
]. Algeria’s tourism sector based on international and national destinations experienced a total cessation of activity, just after the closure of national and international borders and airports, during the outbreak of the pandemic. This situation caused enormous losses which are currently being assessed by the departments concerned. However, our preliminary field observations have shown the closure of many travel agencies and tourist establishments. The strategy to exit partial containment which was imposed to reduce the spread of the pandemic has been gradual. The ban on vehicle traffic between 29 regions of the country was lifted on 9 August 2020 by the government, which was accompanied by the gradual reopening of places of worship, beaches, and places of relaxation. This decision aimed to reduce the psychological impacts of COVID-19 on the Algerian population, who had lived for more than five months in tight partial confinement and sometimes a little lightened in certain regions of the country. This caused stress, anxiety, and feelings of bad humor in a large part of the Algerian population [27
]. Thus, part of the population intends to go on vacation to relax, but this must be done inside the country because of the closure of the Algerian borders. This prompted officials from the tourism sector in Algeria to validate and implement their prevention protocol against COVID-19 in collaboration with the Ministry of Health [28
], from 15 August 2020 onwards. It is now important to envision the impact of COVID-19 on tourist needs of the Algerian population. It designates the tourist desires which the citizens hope to see realized by the actors of the tourism sector in all their forms, specifically during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the risk of contamination by the virus is still present.
The objective of our study is considered as the first investigation of the tourist needs in Algeria. Thus, this study aims to know how the population will react to spending their holidays, and how they see tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also intend to shed light on the proposals that could improve the tourism sector in Algeria, which had largely ceased in March 2020, just like anywhere else in the world [16
], and resume its activity according to new visions of operation. COVID-19 has changed the world forever and nothing will be the same as before the pandemic in various sectors, including tourism, which remains a very sensitive sector [29
2. Materials and Methods
We adopted a survey plan to assess the leisure needs generated by COVID-19 in Algerian society, using an anonymous online questionnaire of impacts of the COVID-19 on the needs of tourists, who had total freedom to answer questions. The time of the current study was extended from 1 June to 13 July 2020. Indeed, our sampling was based on the snowball approach because of home confinement. The study sample consisted of 203 individuals, including 56.7% males and 43.3% females.
The questionnaire of our study included 23 questions covering several dimensions:
The need for psychological recreation: 10 items;
The need for tourist information: 7 items;
The need to rationalize tourism costs: 3 items;
The need for the contribution of tourism in the economic recovery: 3 items.
The coefficient of reliability of the alpha Cronbach questionnaire was calculated, which equaled 0.748, which means a high reliability in the results of the questionnaire.
We used the mixed method by open qualitative questions to respondents regarding their identification of tourism-related procedures and needs from their point of view.
Descriptive statistics were calculated for the socio-demographic characteristics, and the dimensions of the questionnaire. We used the chi-square test, one-sample and two-sample t test, with a level of significance of (p < 0.05). Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS Statistic 22.0.
shows that the study sample was composed of 203 people, 56.7% men and 43.3% women, while their age varied: 18–30 years with a percentage of 33.5%, 31–45 years with a percentage of 40.9%, and 46–65 years with a percentage of 25.6%.
Regarding the preferred month to spend summer vacation after the lifting of the confinement, we found that 53.69% of the respondents preferred the month of August, as it is the best month for rest and leisure for Algerians because it is a month of vacation for most economic and service sectors.
Several respondents (29.06%) preferred to spend their summer holidays in September due to the spread of coronavirus. They perhaps wanted to delay, ensuring the stability of the health situation in the country before venturing into various tourist spots.
As for the remaining 17.25% of respondents, they preferred to postpone this year’s summer vacation to October, November, and December to ensure the stability of the health situation in the country.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Needs of Algerian Tourists during Partial Confinement
and Table 3
show that there was a great need for recreation to relieve psychological stress (M = 25.33) among the study sample (p
< 0.05). The consequences of the long period of home confinement due to coronavirus included routine, confluences of family interactions, limited space in the house, and fear of the negative development of the coronavirus epidemic.
These behaviors have put the individual under psychological pressure throughout the day for a long period, resulting in a great need to get out of the house for relief and to seek emotional stability. The same goes for all cases, social groups, men, women, children, and even the elderly.
The table also shows the existence of an average need for tourist information (M = 11.12) (p < 0.01). In fact, people prefer to obtain sufficient, fast, and detailed information about the tourist places open to receive individuals for short holidays. They are comfortable especially with the closure of tourist areas in Algeria for a period of about six months. This has made the tourist information necessary for individuals to make a clear decision for the tourist choice, especially with the low level of tourism marketing online and the requirements for the implementation of preventive measures against infection with the coronavirus.
The results also indicate that there is an average need to rationalize the costs of tourist services (M = 5.26) in Algeria (p < 0.01), because the latter is the greatest concern of Algerian citizens, especially with the increase in hotel services, catering, and all associated services. Therefore, it is difficult to have a tourist vacation for an average family of four persons with average income.
The table shows that there is a great need (M = 7.75) (p < 0.05) and an awareness in which the tourism sector can contribute to the economic recovery after the period of effective containment due to the coronavirus. Indeed, this sector can create direct jobs and revive the economy towards restoring the income balance of families who are affected by the suspension of economic activities for a long period that has already extended to several months.
shows that men (45.3%) and women (35.5%) are aware of the need to avoid tourist places during the period of partial containment, due to the widespread nature of the infection with coronavirus. Even with the lifting of confinement, caution remains by taking social distancing measures and ensuring hand hygiene and the wearing of masks.
From the results of the table, all age groups in the study sample (18–30; 29.1%) and (31–45; 29.1%) were aware of the need to avoid tourist places during the period of the gradual lifting of containment. This indicates an awareness of the importance of caution and compliance with preventive instructions to avoid infection with the coronavirus.
As for the preferred tourist places after the lifting of the confinement, the results in Table 3
indicate that (62%) of the responses, among them (32%) men and (30%) women preferred to spend their holidays by the sea. Therefore, a territory by the sea is considered a favorite place for Algerians to spend their holidays and have fun, and this is what we could see through the strong presence of families on the beaches after the gradual lifting of confinement.
The results show that 15.3% of the respondents emphasized their preference to stay at home and avoid tourist places entirely this year, perhaps because they fear the repercussions of the coronavirus infection or are not convinced of preventive health measures in tourist places. Therefore, the decision to stay at home is seen as a safe solution for them in order to preserve their life and that of their family.
Some preferred to spend their holidays in nature and forests (13.8%) to enjoy calm and psychological comfort. Others preferred mineral baths (8.9%) to spend their vacations after the confinement has been lifted, especially those suffering from health problems requiring mineral baths.
The results of the Table show that all age groups in the study sample—18–30 (23.6%), 31–45 (25.1%), 46–65 (13.3%)preferred to spend their holidays by the sea. This means that the sea is the preferred destination for leisure activities for all age groups in the Algerian community, after the confinement has been lifted.
The data in Table 5
indicate that there was no significant difference between men and women in the mean scores of the need for psychological recreation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Algeria (p
= 0.114) and the need for tourist information (p
= 0.09), in addition to the need for the contribution of tourism in the economic recovery (p
On the other hand, the Table shows the existence of a statistically significant difference between men (M = 5.17) and women (M = 5.38) with respect to the need to rationalize the costs of tourism in favor of women (p < 0.05), and this result means that women are more aware of the high costs of tourism services in Algeria. They often think of spending the holidays with all the members of their family, which is why women have been affected by the high costs of services in tourist places.
presents the results of the qualitative analysis of the opinions of the sample of the study concerning the measures to be taken after the Covid-19 pandemic for the development of tourism in Algeria. These results show that 92.61% of respondents advocated reducing the cost of hotels and services in tourist areas in order to allow a large part of the population classified as middle and low categories of income to spend time in a decent vacation. It is also noted that 81.77% of respondents asked for the development of tourist culture amongst the population to get used to the different types of tourism. The cleanliness of tourist sites is one of the requirements of the Algerian population as 75.86% of respondents demanded cleanliness. Among other things, improving safety in tourist areas was requested by 69.95% of the study sample. This is mainly linked to the size of the tourist sites and also the Algerian territory, which requires more measures to ensure security in various tourist places. Since tourism potential is not at all well exploited, 54.18% of respondents see the construction of tourist complexes with all the necessary services as a way of developing tourism. Regarding the development of domestic tourism, 40.88% of respondents see that the state must get involved in this aspect.
The holiday period is very important for all populations of the world, especially after the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sample of the Algerian population studied found that 53.69% of respondents preferred the month of August to go on vacation. Usually, in this country this is the preferred month of the holidays since it also coincides with the children’s school holidays and favorable weather conditions. In addition, it is ideal for people living with families.
The results also show that 29.06% of respondents chose the month of September to go on vacation and 17.25% preferred the months of October, November, and December. This shows that these people are free to choose their vacation because of the absence of family responsibilities, including school-age children. The closure of borders in many countries of the world imposed for the prevention against COVID-19 pandemic for several months [16
] has forced many people to schedule their holidays during these three months at the end of 2020. They believe that the epidemiological situation is stabilized with the reduction or disappearance of the severity of the disease, and the reopening of the borders is carried out, as COVID-19 has raised public concerns regarding general cleanliness, hygiene, and accessibility of health care [30
During this period of confinement of the COVID-19 pandemic, the results show that the needs of Algerian tourists are characterized by a great need for leisure to relieve psychological stress (M = 25.33) among the study sample (p
< 0.05). This stress causes adverse effects on the physical and mental health of all people, including children [31
], due to the long period of home confinement, routine, and limited space in houses. The fear of being infected with the virus has also had negative effects and psychological pressure on people of different ages. In addition, this need for leisure manifests itself in nature, which contributes to the promotion of psychological well-being by relieving the human mind of stress, restoring cognitive capacities, and promoting feelings of rejuvenation [32
It is noted, according to the responses of the respondents, that there is the existence of an average need for tourist information (M = 11.12) (p
< 0.01). In fact, citizens prefer to obtain information on tourist places and the services offered, especially after the closure of tourist areas and travel agencies in Algeria for a period of about six months. Tourist information is therefore necessary to enable citizens to choose their destination wisely, and make a decision regarding the prevention requirements imposed for each type of tourism. Accordingly, information needs change under the influence of technological development and the constant availability of information online can change the time dimension of tourists’ information needs in the sense that decisions can be postponed to just before consumption [33
]. Therefore, COVID-19 has changed the world forever, including the functioning of all sectors, including tourism [34
]. Charters as well as health protocols in the tourism sector will play an important role in the decisions of tourists.
An average need to rationalize the costs of tourist services (M = 5.26) is observed according to the respondents (p
< 0.01). This is a concern of Algerian citizens particularly for large families and those with average incomes. This includes increase in the prices of hotel services, restaurants, and other associated services that may occur in order to compensate for the losses recorded during the months of closure. Unlike other sectors of activity, some tourism revenues are lost permanently because the unsold capacity in accommodation cannot be marketed in the following years, with corresponding implications for employment in the sector [16
]. Knowing that the impacts of the SARS epidemic on hotels in Hong Kong were very serious, with staff having been asked to take annual leave, and interns and certain categories of workers being made redundant [36
Among other things, there was a great need (M = 7.75) among respondents (p
< 0.05) for an awareness of what the tourism sector can contribute to the economic recovery in Algeria after the confinement period. Domestic tourism will be the most sought after because of the great potential of Algeria, and the closure of borders. Thus, this sector can create temporary jobs that can help many families cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is of a much higher magnitude than previous crises due to its global scale and the general closure of travel, business, and life activities [37
]. COVID-19 has, thus, imposed changes and transformations on the tourism sector that will not be very clear for some time, including attempts to revive it [29
]. Among other things, the measures identified by the respondents to develop the tourism sector after the COVID-19 pandemic in Algeria indicate that 92.61% of the respondents recommended a reduction in the cost of hotels and services in tourist areas. This is due to the prices, which are considered somewhat high compared to other countries. The reduction in prices will allow the recovery of the tourism industry after COVID-19 and will be linked in the short term to the rate of global economic recovery [29
]. The tourist’s income plays an important role in the selection of hotels and the services to be offered.
Most of the respondents (81.77%) called for the development of a tourist culture among the population to get used to the different types of tourism and to know the behavior that tourists should take to protect themselves against the pandemic. It is noted that 75.86% of respondents demanded cleanliness of tourist sites since COVID-19 has raised public concerns regarding general cleanliness, cleaning, and disinfection as well as hygiene and accessibility of health care [30
About 69.95% demanded the improvement of security because of the size of the tourist sites and the Algerian territory, as well as measures related to social distancing for tourism employees and other customers in order to avoid the risk of contamination [22
]. In addition, 54.18% of respondents see the construction of tourist complexes with the necessary services as a way to develop tourism in the post-COVID-19 period. These new constructions featuring green design based on ecological design is a crucial factor in improving stress resilience and reducing anxiety of tourists and workers in the tourism industry [41
]. The challenge is to take measures to adapt the new tourist structures to grant more protection for forms of mobility and similar crises also having a negative aspect linked to the time it takes for tourists to regain their former mobility even after the end of the pandemic. People have been touched by an environment of fear, anxiety, and insecurity for a long time and they are getting used to being quiet and at home. This trend is delaying the recovery of activity in the tourism industry [42
]. The development of domestic tourism should be done with the support of the state according to the vision of 40.88% of respondents. This is logical especially as the tourism potential of this country is very important and requires the involvement of the state and measures to be taken such as lifting or fixing visa regulations that countries around the world must also take to stimulate tourist flow [39
]. Nevertheless, many countries compete with various incentives to attract tourists. However, the evolution of the pandemic is discouraging tourists and will further reduce tourism income and accelerate job losses in affected countries [44
This study has several limits related to the snowball sampling strategy and the number of respondents, and this sample study did not reflect the general population. However, this research will provide a vision for authorities concerning the impact of the confinement of COVID-19 on the tourism sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a very negative impact on people, on the economies of countries, and in particular on the tourism sector. Our study quickly assessed the tourist needs of the Algerian population during a period of confinement. The results showed a great need for recreation and relaxation to relieve psychological stress which has caused adverse effects on the physical and mental health of all people, including children, during the COVID-19 period. There was a great need and awareness among respondents that the tourism sector can contribute to the economic recovery in Algeria after the period of confinement, because domestic tourism will be the most in demand due to the closure of borders and the tourism potential of Algeria.
This study also showed that the reduction in the cost of hotels and services in tourist areas, the cleanliness and disinfection of these sites, as well as the distance between tourism employees and customers can attract tourists.
Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the tourism needs of the Algerian population, which is increasingly aware of the consequences of the pandemic on their health and on the country’s economy. The resumption of activity in passenger transport between regions of Algeria which was suspended because of the pandemic is recommended to re-activate domestic tourism.
These results can help the authorities in the tourism sector to better understand and identify the tourism needs of the population. This will also help to develop the potential of domestic tourism and prepare the Algerian tourism destinations through effective measures in the post-pandemic period.
Perspectives from this study may focus on changes in tourism behavior after the COVID-19 lifting confinement, state tourism strategies, and as well the attitudes towards internal and external tourism after the lifting of confinement COVID-19.