The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has warned this Thursday that international tourism could drop 60% to 80% in 2020 as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, the “worst crisis” that tourism sector has faced since, the records began seventy years ago in 1950.
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, in the first quarter alone tourism has 22% contracted, with 67 million less international tourists, which translated into loss of 80 billion dollars in receipts (tourism exports) .
Arrivals in March registered an “abrupt” drop of 57%, as a result of lockdown in many countries, the introduction of travel restrictions and the closure of airports and borders.
Although the Asia and the Pacific observed 33 million drop in arrivals) while Europe record the drop of 22 million.
“The world is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis. Tourism has been hit hard, with millions of jobs at risk in one of the most labor-intensive sectors of the economy” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
According to the United Nations tourism agency, current scenarios point to a possible decline in arrivals of between 58% and 78% for the year of 2020. Although it clarifies that it will depend on lockdown and the duration of the travel restrictions and border closures.
UNWTO report based on three possibilities for the gradual opening of international borders: the first, which would mean the relaxation of travel restrictions in early July, would mean a drop of 58%. The second, at the beginning of September, would entail a loss of international tourism of 70%, a percentage that would be around 80% in the event that the restrictions began to relax only in early December.
In these three scenarios, the impact of the fall in demand for could mean the loss of between 850 to 1.1 billion international tourists, and with them, between 910 billion and 1.2 trillion dollars (843 billion and 1.1 billion euros) tourism exports income loss.
Likewise, the crisis means that between 100 and 120 million jobs in direct tourism employment are at risk.
UNWTO indicates the impact, will be varying level of degrees in different regions, but in theory the Asia and Pacific region, starting to see the light sooner.
Domestic demand could be stimulated before international demand, says the UN’s group of experts, which awaits signs of recovery in the last quarter of 2020, but especially in 2021.
Furthermore, they consider that the world will resume leisure travel sooner, mainly to visit friends and family, as has happened in the previous crises, then business trips.