Pivoting in the Tourism Sector: COVID-19

Author: Rebecca Wilson-Mah & Kathy MacRae
Publisher: International Journal of Instructional Cases


IJIC, Volume 6 (2022)


Maple Leaf Adventures offered small ship cruises and multi-day excursions in Canada’s spectacular coastal locations on the west coast of British Columbia. On April 8, Kevin Smith reflected on the seismic change that had occurred over the space of 4 weeks and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith needed a completely new plan for his business. He was also concerned about the other small business partners he worked with on BC’s west coast, and what was ahead for these SME’s and their partnerships. This case supports business and tourism students at the undergraduate and graduate level to identify the content and process of possible pivots for a small or medium enterprise and the possibilities that can be developed when SMEs and their representative associations work together.


Tourism, sustainability, pivot, Covid-19, operations, eco-tourism, environmental sustainability

Target Audience and Usage

This case is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students who are exploring sustainable tourism, social entrepreneurship, or business management. The case is also suitable for training in corporate and association settings. Students will consider how small tourism businesses worked together during the COVID-19 pandemic to completely pivot their business model. The case provides the opportunity to identify and discuss the concept of a pivot and to identify the conditions necessary to make a pivot successful. The case also provides students with the opportunity to explore how multiple competing small tourism businesses worked together to pivot, and thus created opportunities for coordinated effort and a successful application for COVID-19 related Provincial funding (Province of BC, Canada). This case was field researched and data collection was completed over several interviews.

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