Tourist arrivals could drop by 30% this year

The World Tourism Organisation has updated its assessment of the impact of COVID-19

 Dubai, UAE
Dubai, UAE

As travel restrictions are enforced across the globe, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said tourist arrivals could drop by between 20% and 30% this year compared to last.

This fall would translate to a drop in international tourism receipts of between US$300 and $400 billion according to UNWTO. If this were to happen, it would translate to the tourism industry losing five to seven years of economic progress.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism is among the hardest hit of all economic sectors. However, tourism is also united in helping to address this immense health emergency – our first and utmost priority – while working together to mitigate the impact of the crisis, particularly on employment, and to support the wider recovery efforts through providing jobs and driving economic welfare worldwide.”

UNWTO noted that in 2009, during the global economic crisis, international tourist arrivals dropped by just 4%, while in 2003 during the SARS outbreak, it dropped by 0.4%.

At the end of last week, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) too updated its assessment of the situation, going as far to say travel & tourism could close as much as $2.1 trillion this year. WTTC added that there are currently 75 million jobs in the industry at risk.

WTTC’s data suggested the Middle East could lose $65 billion and 1.8 million jobs this year in the industry. 

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