Call for Papers – The Study of Tourism in Southeast Asia: Ongoing Trends and Future Directions



Southeast Asia represents a diverse region with different historical, political, and socioeconomic developments and a broad range of natural and cultural tourist attractions. As a result, Southeast Asia has embraced tourism as a means to generate income and create jobs (Trupp et al., 2020). In 2019, the tourism sector employed 42 million workers and contributed 12.1% to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) (ADB, 2022). Tourism is increasingly used as a tool for poverty alleviation, residents’ empowerment, and livelihood diversification across the region.

However, different forms of mass tourism development have led to the unequal distribution of economic benefits, overexploitation of natural resources, and uncontrolled tourism development. For instance, Boracay island in the Philippines saw tourist arrivals increase by 160% between 2011 and 2017. Sewer and waste management systems were unable to keep up, and most commercial establishments and residences improperly treated wastewater while solid waste was similarly poorly managed (ADB, 2022). In response, Boracay was closed to visitors for 6 months in 2018, for environmental rehabilitation (Haynes, 2018). Therefore, while tourism has contributed to economic growth, it can also lead to vast disruptions to local ecosystems, societies and cultures, and increase socioeconomic inequality.

The tourism industry was one of the worst-affected sectors due to Covid-19. From 2019 to 2020, international tourist arrivals and tourism receipts fell by 82% and 78%, respectively, in Southeast Asia (Basu-Das, 2022). This resulted in high job losses across the region, and almost one-third of all job losses in several countries were in the tourism sector. Informal tourism workers like street food vendors, souvenir sellers and drivers suffered the greatest losses in employment and income (Basu-Das, 2022). Small businesses experienced partial or complete closure as they failed to operate during Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Although tourist arrivals are gradually increasing across Southeast Asia since late 2022, it is still slow due to multiple global headwinds. One of the main reasons is due to the reduction of tourists from China, who typically make up the majority of tourists to ASEAN countries (Tan, 2022). Moreover, rising inflation levels and likely mild recessions in the US and Europe are dampening tourist inflows from these two regions. Travel firms can expect a recovery over the next 12 months, albeit not as fast as originally expected. The reopening of borders also leads to a recovery in medical tourism, providing a boost to major hospitals in the region. The tourism sector’s recovery will be a major tailwind to growth in ASEAN through 2023 amid a global growth slowdown and rising costs.  

The purpose of this special issue is to provide a comprehensive and critical analysis of the current state of tourism in Southeast Asia, including its economic, social, cultural, and environmental impact after Covid-19. It will explore the tourism industry's ongoing recovery, the effects of rising inflation and recessions around the world, and future predictions within the industry. It will deepen the understanding of the dynamics of tourism on both global and local levels, and the impact tourism has on residents and localities in Southeast Asia. We hope that the articles in this issue will stimulate further research and inspire innovative approaches to the development and management of tourism in Southeast Asia.

Scope of the special issue

We welcome submissions on topics related to tourism in Southeast Asia and will consider empirical research and systematic reviews. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Tourism’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Tourism’s recovery following Covid-19
  • The positive and negative impact of tourism on Southeast Asia
  • Socioeconomic inequality and tourism 
  • Digital innovation in tourism
  • The relationship between tourism and local ecosystems, societies, and cultures
  • Recovery predictions for the tourism industry in the region

Guess editors

Dr. Diotima Chattoraj
Adjunct Research Fellow
James Cook University, Singapore
[email protected]

Dr. Shirley Chin Wei Lee
Assistant Professor
Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
[email protected]

Key deadlines

Opening date: 1 May 2023
Closing date: 31 May 2024
To be published: 2024

Submissions information

Submissions can be made through the ScholarOne Manuscripts submission site of the journal. 

Please visit the author guidelines for the journal. Submitted manuscripts must not have been published previously, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else.

About the journal

The Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal (SEAMJ) is an open access journal published by the Faculty of Arts and Society Sciences (FASS) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). The SEAMJ publishes a wide variety of topics related to the arts, social sciences, and humanities focusing mainly on Southeast Asia. It aims to be the leading platform for the dissemination of original, theoretical and applied research related to Southeast Asia.


ADB (2022). "What Southeast Asian Countries Need to Do to Shift to Sustainable Tourism" Available at: (Accessed on March 12, 2023).
Basu-Das, Sanchita (2022). "Tourism in Southeast Asia: Building Forward Better." March 14. Available at: (Accessed on March 12, 2023).  
Haynes, Suyin (2018). "Boracay Islanders Feel the Pinch After the Philippines Shuts Down a Top Tourist Destination." Available at: (Accessed on March 12, 2023).
Tan, Felicia (2022). "Chinese tourists remain key to full recovery of Asean region's tourism sector: DBS." December 29. Available at: (Accessed on March 12, 2023).
Trupp, Alexander, Claudia Dolezal, and Huong T. Bui (2020). "Mapping tourism, sustainability, and development in Southeast Asia." In Tourism and development in Southeast Asia, pp. 3-22. Routledge.