International tourism crashes by 98 percent, says World Tourism Organisation

UNWTO looked at how the pandemic affected the industry up to May 2020

COVID-19, World tourism organisation

“The enormous toll of COVID-19 on international tourism has now become clear,” said the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) this month when looking at data up to May 2020.

The latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer showed that in May, international tourism number plummeted by 98 percent compared to May 2019.

The Barometer also shows a 56 percent year-on-year drop in tourist arrivals between January and May. This translates into a fall of 300 million tourists and US$320 billion lost in international tourism receipts.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “This latest data makes clear the importance of restarting tourism as soon as it is safe to do so. The dramatic fall in international tourism places many millions of livelihoods at risk, including in developing countries.

"Governments in every world region have a dual responsibility: to prioritise public health while also protecting jobs and businesses. They also need to maintain the spirit of cooperation and solidarity that has defined our response to this shared challenge and refrain from making unilateral decisions that may undermine the trust and confidence we have been working so hard to build.”

Despite tourism slowly returning across the world, UNTWO’s Panel of Tourism Experts believes the industry won’t recover until the second half of 2021. Earlier in the week, Radisson Hotel Group shared its belief the hotel sector won’t bounce back until 2022.

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