While the coronavirus pandemic is keeping billions of people at home, one sector is in immediate crisis: tourism.
According to the nonprofit World Travel and Tourism Council, which represents the international tourism industry, travel and tourism account for $319 million in jobs worldwide, contribute $8.8 trillion to the global economy, and are the second-largest source of income for the US economy. The coronavirus epidemic is putting this at risk as travel has slumped by a quarter this year and Asia is the continent most affected, the Worldtravel and Tourism Council said. According to its annual report, it estimates that travel tourism is responsible for an average of 1.3 million jobs in the United States and about 2.5 million worldwide.
WTTC executive director Virginia Messina told Reuters the impact would depend on how long the epidemic lasts and could be exacerbated by the US government's decision to ban travel to Europe. How long do you think international travel restrictions will remain in place until the number of COVID-19 infections decreases?
Few industries have fallen as far and as fast as tourism after a coronavirus pandemic. What are some of the best measures local authorities are taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry in their respective countries?
A snapshot of tourism losses is difficult because data changes as quickly as the virus spreads, and snapshots of tourism losses can be difficult because data changes as quickly as it spreads. The technological revolution has brought us closer together, made travel and tourism easier and affordable, and a revolution that has fueled more than a billion trips a year is enough to stop a virus that requires protection.
If the pandemic continues for several months, the World Travel and Tourism Council, a trade group representing major global travel companies, predicts an annual loss for the tourism industry of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. Private companies in the industry, represented by the Global Council on Travel and Tourism, estimate that it generates more than $3 billion a year in revenue and contributes to about one-third of all US travel and tourism spending.
A sudden halt in global travel due to the pandemic would result in more than 100 million job losses this year. By comparison, the trade group last month forecast global losses of $30 billion. The analysis shows that the loss of travel and tourism spending in the United States alone would contribute to an estimated $2.7 trillion decline in gross domestic product.
Travel and tourism are one of the most important industries in the US economy and the second largest in Europe. It has grown relatively steadily in recent years and recovered after a cruise ship sank in Italy in 2009 and then again in Greece.
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With more cases like Covids 19 reported, tighter travel restrictions around the world, and airlines running out of money, millions of people are losing their jobs, and the tourism industry has become one of the biggest victims of this coronavirus outbreak. The UNWTO said that by 20 April, none of these countries had lifted measures which, in some cases, prevent, restrict or discourage visitors or residents from entering their borders.
Small islands and developing countries (SIDS) are the most vulnerable because they are heavily dependent on tourism and a shock of this magnitude is difficult for small economies to cope with. The likely prolonged slowdown in the tourism industry in these countries, which are heavily dependent on foreign tourism, has made their finances even more vulnerable to the impact of the outbreak, and the average recovery time for visitors to these destinations is around 19 months.
According to WTTC data, the tourism sector accounts on average for about 20% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of SIDS countries. The direct contribution of travel to the tourism industry amounts to about 10-20% of GDP in these countries, and in some cases up to 30% in other countries.
In Europe, where the tourism industry employs 13 million people, the coronavirus is expected to lose EUR 1 billion a month in revenue. Italy is likely to finish the year with 60% less presence than in 2019, the lowest level since the 1960s, when the world was divided into blocs and air travel was a luxury for some. Asia is also experiencing a significant decline in its tourism sector, with China accounting for the lion's share of revenue losses.