Right from the start of the COVID pandemic in January 2020, the entire tourism sector was put under immense pressure because of its assumed role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and infection dynamics. Based on reports of single superspreading events in the early days of the pandemic, the hotel industry appeared in a bad light that impaired a strategic risk-assessment of existing transmission risks between tourists and employees. We prospectively analysed samples of 679 employees of 21 hotels and restaurants from July 2020 to December 2020, a time during which more than 1.5 million tourists visited the Lübeck/Ostholstein Baltic Sea vacation area in Northern Germany. Employees were tested up to three times for an acute SARS-CoV-2 infection (PCR from nasopharyngeal swabs) and the presence of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies, and were asked to complete a short questionnaire. Despite the massive increase in tourist influx, no significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 cases was observed amongst employees of the tourism sector from July to September 2020. In a cluster-outbreak analysis of 104 study participants of one single hotel in the Lübeck/Ostholstein region in October 2020 being employed in the low-wage sector “housekeeping” could be determined as major risk factor for becoming infected. In conclusion, in a low incidence setting, touristic activities are safe under COVID-related hygiene measures for both the local population and employees of the tourism sector. Whereas, the field of work is a potential risk factor for increased infection dynamics.

PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 12.2022

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Infektion und Entzündung - Zentrum für Infektions- und Entzündungsforschung Lübeck (ZIEL)


  • Forschung zu SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19


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