Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourist public transportation use and on its determinants: Evidence from a Catalan coastal destination

Tour Manag Perspect. 2022 Oct;44:101003. doi: 10.1016/j.tmp.2022.101003. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Despite the key importance of public transportation for the accessibility, attractiveness, and sustainability of tourist areas, little is known about how the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted its use among tourists. In response, we compared the likelihood of using transit among visitors in a Catalan coastal area based on surveys conducted in 2019 (n = 1493) and 2020 (n = 1465). The pandemic caused a significant decline in tourists' use of public transportation, from 54.5% in 2019 to 34.6% in 2020, and in mobility at the destination. Results from a set of bivariate probabilistic models revealed that though most of the traditional determinants of visitors' use of transit remained unaltered, pandemic-related factors were associated with its decline. For the tourism sector and for local authorities and transit agencies, those results characterize the crucial challenge of ensuring the use of public transit among visitors in consideration of its many environmental and social benefits.

Keywords: Public transit; SARS-CoV-2; Sustainable mobility; Tourism; Travel behavior.