Middle East could lose 1.8 million travel and tourism jobs

The industry could lose US$2.1 trillion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak

WTTC president & CEO Gloria Guevara
WTTC president & CEO Gloria Guevara

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and travel and tourism business screeches to a halt, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has suggested the industry’s GDP could drop by as much as US$2.1 trillion this year.

WTTC’s analysis exposed that the Asia-Pacific region’s travel & tourism industry could lose close to $800 billion this year, with Europe projected to lose $552 billion and the Americas to lose $570 billion. Other countries expected to be hit hard by this crisis include Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Indonesia and India.

According to the data, the Middle East has experienced the least damaging impact from the COVID-19 outbreak, projected to lose $65 billion.

WTTC president & CEO Gloria Guevara said: “If urgent action is not taken within the next few days, the travel & tourism sector faces an economic meltdown from which it will struggle to recover and plunge millions of people dependent upon it for their livelihoods into debt. Not only will this have an enormous negative impact on major businesses in the travel & tourism sector around the world, the ‘domino effect’ will also result in massive job losses across the entire supply chain, hitting employees and those in self-employment.”

Less than a fortnight ago, WTTC suggested that 50 million jobs in the industry were at risk, this has now jumped to 75 million at risk as the coronavirus issue continues. WTTC highlighted that one million jobs in the industry could be lost each day.

Asia-Pacific has 49 million jobs at risk, followed by Europe with 10 million and the Americas with close to seven million. The Middle East region could lose up to 1.8 million travel & tourism jobs.

Guevara added: “This chilling new figure also represents the collective delay by many governments around the world to react quickly enough to come to the aid of a sector which is the backbone of the global economy.”

She concluded: “We call on all those in positions of power to help the powerless and enact policies to support and sustain a sector which is a driving force of the global economy and responsible for generating one in five of all new jobs.”

It’s estimated travel & tourism accounts for 10.4% of the world’s GDP, along with one in every 10 jobs. 

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