Coronavirus: Not just Business as usual, it’s a hit on the religious economy: Michael Song

With Hajj already on the walks to cancellation and Church gatherings being reduced, the religious industry is suffering an extensive downfall writes Michael Song, Chairman and Founder of Topline Consulting Group.


The global outbreak of Covid-19 has investors and economists, all around the world, gravely concerned. The downfall of the business economy was neither a surprise nor the only outcome of the virus, the religious economy saw a hit as well. With Saudi Arabia announcing that it will suspend the entry of religious pilgrims as a precautionary measure for the coronavirus, the religious economy is crumbling down.

There has been a huge business impact of the pandemic evident from the statistical evidence amounting to billions of dollars. In the light of the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus several notable occasions have been suspended, deferred or postponed. There is a wide spread impact on Event and MICE Industry globally, the cost surmounting to the dollars invested and the brand values seeing a downfall.

Many companies have come up with innovative solutions to continue their brand communications and consumer connect in lieu of not being able to physically attend the events. Brands have showcased solidarity and immediately cancelled or postponed plans to give first priority to safety.

However, beyond the business impact in the manufacturing, production, tourism and sports there is an industry that has been affected by the Coronavirus that is still to be realized. Creating sentimental chaos, the virus has affected the international religious industry. While different industries and brands fight the virus with solidarity and have come up with innovative solutions to stay away from physically attending the events to give priorities to safety, the religious industry has suffered differently.

Soon after the virus lead to the casualty of 3,000 people, Saudi Arabia, sterilized the Grand Mosque and banned all foreign pilgrims from entering the country. The kingdom is also suspending tourist visa entry from countries where the coronavirus is already spreading.

In addition to the pilgrims, Pope Francis cancelled a lot of events in the last few weeks after the virus attacked Italy. The Pope, 83, was also tested for the virus after suffering from illness at the time when the outbreak happened in Italy. However tested negative, the Pope cancelled all major events avoiding large public gatherings as a precautionary measure in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Dalai Lama added to the list of cancelled events and postponed all events until further notice, the latest being his annual Teachings scheduled on March 9, 2020. According to Dalai Lama’s website, “As a precautionary measure, in view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, all engagements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama remain indefinitely postponed. Thank you for your understanding”.

The World Health Organization has advised major social distancing amongst other basic protective measures contributing to avoid the risk associated with exposure to the Coronavirus at any public event involving the global audience.

The religious industry, which very deeply depends on mass gatherings and the physical presence of the devotees, has seen a major setback due to the Corona virus. As the virus expands its wings, the major religious events fear cancellations. From the above, we have already discovered that avoiding public gatherings is the key and first measure to avoid the virus. With Hajj already on the walks to cancellation and Church gatherings being reduced, the religious industry is suffering an extensive downfall.

The advisory of maintaining an avoidance to mass gatherings has also been followed by the people of India. Crowd, making activities such as dining out, travelling, political gatherings and religious events injurious to health. The shutdown of the churches, temples and mosques has also motivated the believers to fight the global battle against the virus. The efforts however, are very minute compared to the scale of India and the level of awareness it requires to reach citizens to every corner of the country.

As the virus spreads far and beyond, the best guard from the infection is to evade it.

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