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.”

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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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