University of Oulu

Siamak Seyfi, C. Michael Hall & Bardia Shabani (2023) COVID-19 and international travel restrictions: the geopolitics of health and tourism, Tourism Geographies, 25:1, 357-373, DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2020.1833972

COVID-19 and international travel restrictions : the geopolitics of health and tourism

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Author: Seyfi, Siamak1; Hall, C. Michael2,3,4,5; Shabani, Bardia6
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
3School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
4Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5School of Tourism & Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
6Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University, Montpellier, France
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2022-04-14


In an effort to contain the advancement of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many states have introduced unprecedented peacetime measures ranging from border closures and travel bans to the suspension of visa exemptions, as well as internal mobility restrictions, including full lockdowns and quarantine for incoming passengers. Nevertheless, coercive measures such as sanctions continue to be applied during the COVID-19 outbreak and have largely undermined sanctioned countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic. The latter has prompted renewed discussion of the humanitarian costs of this frequently deployed foreign policy tool against the civilian populations in the target countries. The inconsistent application of border controls and travel restrictions by states also raise questions as to the politics of pandemics and how they fulfill the International Health Regulations. Framed from a geopolitical perspective, this study aims to discuss the power of sanctions regime in relation to state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper also discusses the degree of selectivity of border restrictions by major global tourism destinations. While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, its implications are economically and geo-politically far-reaching with corresponding implications for the framing of travel and tourism within humanitarian and political contexts.

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Series: Tourism geographies. An international journal of tourism space, place and environment
ISSN: 1461-6688
ISSN-E: 1470-1340
ISSN-L: 1461-6688
Volume: 25
Issue: 1
Pages: 357 - 373
DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2020.1833972
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
Copyright information: © Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Tourism Geographies on 14 Oct 2020, available online: