COVID-19 outbreak: Estimated loss of up to US$ 50 billion in international tourism receipts

MADRID, In an update on the sector’s response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, the World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, offers a first assessment pointing to a decrease in international arrivals and receipts in 2020. Public health measures need to be implemented in ways that minimise any unnecessary disruption to travel and trade. Since the start of the outbreak, UNWTO has been working closely with the World Health Organisation, WHO, to ensure this is the case.

UNWTO has revised its 2020 prospects for international tourist arrivals to a negative growth of 1 percent to 3 percent, translating into an estimated loss of US$ 30 to 50 billion in international tourism receipts. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, UNWTO predicted a positive growth of 3 percent to 4 percent for this year.

This first assessment expects that Asia and the Pacific will be the worst affected region, with an anticipated fall in arrivals of 9 percent to 12 percent. Estimates for other world regions are currently premature in view of the rapidly evolving situation. UNWTO underscores that any estimate must be treated with caution and is likely to be updated.

UNWTO calls for financial and political support for recovery measures aimed at tourism, and to include support for the sector in the wider recovery plans and actions of affected economies.

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will be felt across the whole tourism value chain. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili furthermore stresses that “small and medium sized enterprises make up around 80 percent of the tourism sector and are particularly exposed with millions of livelihoods across the world, including within vulnerable communities, relying on tourism.”

Political and financial commitments are key to ensure that tourism can lead wider economic and social recovery, as proven in past disruptions on the back of the highly resilient nature of the sector and its ability to bounce back strongly.

Source: Emirates News Agency