Int’l tourism arrivals record $935bn in export revenues in 10 months

…create 72% shortfall

The tourism sector has continued to count its losses occasioned by COVID -19 pandemic as international arrival figures over the first 10 months of the year has recorded 72 per cent fall, with restrictions on travel, low consumer confidence and a global struggle to contain the COVID-19 virus, said to have contributed to the worst year on record in the history of tourism. According to the latest tourism data from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), destinations welcomed 900 million fewer international tourists between January and October when compared with the same period of 2019.

This, according to the global body, translates into a loss of $935 billion in export revenues from international tourism, more than 10 times the loss in 2009 under the impact of the global economic crisis. Based on the current evidence, UNWTO expects international arrivals to decline by 70 per cent to 75 per cent for the whole of 2020.

In this case, global tourism will have returned to levels of 30 years ago, with 1 billion fewer arrivals and a loss of some $1.1 trillion in international tourism receipts. This massive drop in tourism due to the pandemic could result in an economic loss of $2 trillion in world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Details of the report shows that Asia and the Pacific saw an 82 per cent decrease in arrivals in the first 10 months of 2020. The Middle East recorded 73 per cent decline, while Africa saw a 69 per cent drop. International arrivals in both Europe and the Americas declined by 68 per cent.

However, the report projects a rebound for tourism between 2021 and 2024, starting from the second half of 2021. Nonetheless, a return to 2019 levels in terms of international arrivals could take between twoand- a-half and four years.

It should be noted that UNWTO has since the outbreak of the pandemic provided governments and businesses with trusted data showing the unprecedented impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on global tourism and also working with them to mitigate the effect and restart tourism following the lift on restrictions and bans by many destinations. Commenting, UNWTO’s Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “Since the start of this crisis, UNWTO has provided governments and businesses with trusted data showing the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global tourism.

“Even as the news of a vaccine boosts traveller confidence, there is still a long road to recovery. We thus need to step up our efforts to safely open borders while supporting tourism jobs and businesses. It is ever clearer that tourism is one of the most affected sectors by this unprecedented crisis.”




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