Although the literature on COVID-19 is expanding, particularly in relation to crisis management responses pursued by large tourism enterprises, currently few studies exist on the responses of small tourism firms and more specifically of the crisis management practices of small and microaccommodation establishments. The aim in this study is to investigate the business management responses of small tourism firms to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and restrictions in South Africa. Themes of concern are whether enterprises have been able to sustain operations and adopt certain coping mechanisms or management strategies to mitigate the pandemic's impact. The article reports on an interview survey of small and microenterprises engaged in accommodation services ( N = 75) in South Africa under lockdown restrictions as a means of assessing the responses and coping strategies during an unprecedented crisis of this core component of the country's tourism industry. Among key findings are that small and microlodging firms that have suffered severe financial losses because of the COVID-19 shock have few viable mechanisms to cope with the impact of the crisis and that government support to aid recovery has been insufficient in South Africa. This research contributes to the limited body of international scholarship that examines how small and microaccommodation firms, a major group and contributor of many economies, are navigating the unprecedented COVID-19 environment.
- hospitality management