Armchair travellers intent on visiting Great Britain can use the national tourism agency website to download recipes for lemon lavender shortbread, take a virtual tour of Harry Potter locations and shuffle a thoroughly British playlist (including The Clash’s 1980s anthem Should I Stay or Should I go). What they cannot do, under current rules, is fly to the country without a two-week quarantine. That — unsurprisingly — has irked British Airways and Ryanair as well as easyJet, which resumed flights this week. Similar restrictions elsewhere have stymied visitor flows, dealing a blow to the $3-trillion global tourism industry.

Yet ending quarantines would not reverse those flows. Tourism is an up-close and personal business of crowded souks, beach massages and island raves. It does not fit well in a social-distancing world. Snapshots from holiday destinations around the world show an industry trying to reinvent itself. Some have little choice. Thailand, which relies on tourism for...

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