The current unprecedented globalization of the social economy, with worldwide mobility of people, products and services in an increasingly connected market and society, has promoted the rapid geographic spread of the coronavirus (i.e., crisis management) outbreak, negatively affecting tourists’ behavior and their well-being,
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The current unprecedented globalization of the social economy, with worldwide mobility of people, products and services in an increasingly connected market and society, has promoted the rapid geographic spread of the coronavirus (i.e., crisis management) outbreak, negatively affecting tourists’ behavior and their well-being, whether due to restrictions imposed by governments on international travel, or due to tourists’ fear of catching the disease. This manuscript aims to understand how digital communication has helped the tourism industry in general and the hotel context in particular to face the negative consequences caused by the new coronavirus pandemic. The development of the research followed a qualitative methodological approach, constituting an exploratory study, based on four semi-structured interviews with managers of hotel establishments, located in the Northern Region of Portugal and Galicia. As main conclusions, it is possible to highlight that digital communication and the use of social networks were fundamental tools for hotel establishments during the pandemic caused by COVID-19, especially during the confinement period, when establishments had to close, many of them completely. There were many changes brought about in the tourism industry in the Euroregion of Northern Portugal and Galicia (ERNPG), with an increase in domestic tourism, a decrease in the external market and a change in tourist profile and behavior, whether due to sanitary and public health issues that induced fear of travel, or by the measures imposed by the government that prevented such trips. According to the strategies implemented by the hotel establishments, the intensification of digital communication use and social networks stands out, since, for a long time, it consisted of the only connecting tool between the hotel and its customers and the initiatives of the Regional Entities and Turismo de Portugal (regional and national DMOs), through numerous training courses in the area of digital marketing and the implementation of hygiene, sustainable and safety measures in hotel establishments. Regarding the future of tourism, it is expected that it will recover in the coming years and approach the historical values of previous years, given the advance in vaccination against the disease and the tourist’s desire to travel. In the short term, strategies are expected from hotel establishments that include valuing the destination on digital marketing platforms through attracting qualified human resources and a commitment towards tourism sustainability.