Report: Tourism spending could drop by $50bn this year

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation said Asia will be the worst affected

International tourism arrivals could drop by 1% to 3% this year
International tourism arrivals could drop by 1% to 3% this year

According to a report from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourism spending could see a loss of between US$30 and $50 billion this year.

UNWTO made the estimation in light of travel disruptions, the geographical spread of the COVID-19 disease and its economic impact. Tourism arrivals could drop by 1% to 3% this year, down from a 3% to 4% growth rate estimated at the start of the new decade.

Stated with the caveat that the situation is continuously changing, UNWTO suggested Asia and the Pacific will be the most affected region, with a potential 9% to 12% drop in international tourism arrivals this year. Early in January, the region was projected to see a 5% to 6% growth in the tourism industry in 2020.

In January this year, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) also put forward a potential lasting economic impact from the coronavirus. WTTC president & CEO Gloria Guevara echoed UNWTO’s report, saying COVID-19 would lose the travel and tourism industries billions.

Guevara noted: “Previous cases have also shown us that closing airports, cancelling flights and closing borders often has a greater economic impact than the outbreak itself.”

Within the tourism industry, the organisers of Arabian Travel Market 2020 and Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2020 announced yesterday (March 9) that the events had been moved to later in the year due to travel restrictions and health concerns. 

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